RESEARCH from leading rural insurer NFU Mutual shows that 40 percent of people plan to buy more from farm shops and local producers this Christmas.

The support follows a huge increase in the number of people using farm shops during the COVID-19 pandemic. NFU Mutual’s research reveals that one in four people have used farm shops or bought from local producers more in 2020.

Amanda Wallbank, Senior NFU Mutual Agent in Appleby, said: “Throughout the pandemic farm shops have provided a lifeline to local communities, sourcing vital supplies during shortages, delivering fresh produce to vulnerable people and helping to keep people’s spirits up with friendly service.

“The rise of these rural retailers has been no mean feat. Many farm shops have worked round the clock transforming their business model to meet demand, such as introducing click and collect services. Staff have adapted from serving in farm shop cafes to processing and delivering online orders, and stores have redesigned their layouts to offer Covid-safe shopping experiences.”

There are now thousands of farm shops and farmers selling produce directly from the farm gate. Low Howgill Butchers and Deli in Appleby is just one of the many farm businesses helping to make this Christmas special.