I hold my hand up high and admit I was one of the very many who panic bought at the beginning of lockdown. Now I think back, all but a few of my Waitrose purchases were quite mindless and random – I’d definitely got caught in the panic buy circle!
What I then found quite hard to see, were the local businesses/cafes/restaurants that I love, support and spend my time at, start closing their doors. I was worried for them and upset. What the next few weeks and months held for them, for everyone, was completely unknown. So that’s when I turned my focus to supporting and doing what I could to help them. I started purchasing from them, sharing on social media and by word of mouth. We were still lucky enough to be getting a weekly delivery from Ocado, which we had signed up to and been using for years. We were very mindful with what we purchased and got what we couldn’t get locally.
Here are a few of my favourite local cafes and businesses I’ve been supporting though these hard times.
A cafe I’d been visiting for years, which had changed owners not long ago, bringing a Georgian theme to the cafe and centre of Caversham. Continuing to sell freshly baked homemade sourdough bread, delicious breakfast and lunch dishes and a range of yummy cakes both vegan and not. Before and then when lockdown hit, they were offering takeaway coffee, baked goods and bread, alongside eggs and fruit and vegetable boxes. The vegetable boxes have been a wonderful hit in our house and we have bought many, using them to base our weekly meals around. Full of variety every week and so fresh and delicious. They’ve really grown as a cafe over the past few months, you can now order online, add eggs and bread to your order and also pop by and pick up a range of fresh produce from the stall outside! Check them out here!
Dudmans Of Berkshire
Now I had not come across this independent wholesale grocer until I was browsing the local community Facebook page. Strange as they are literally a 10 minute drive from me. Someone had posted about their fresh fruit and I decided to look at their website and what they offered. Vegetable and fruit boxes available for delivery or you could pop down and pick what you wanted. The set up was so colourful and my eyes were in heaven! The colour and freshness of the produce shined, the staff were extremely welcoming and helpful, adhering to the 2 metre distancing rules, using gloves and enabling a safe and easy shopping experience. And at a great price! I’ve mostly bought fruit, especially strawberries, from them, but it all tastes so fresh and delicious. If you are close, I definitely recommend you get there early in the morning, around 9am, to beat the rush! You can find more information by visiting their website here.
Berries Coffee Shop
Now to the important stuff – coffee! Never have I been so thankful, or used our bean to cup coffee machine, as much as I have since lockdown!! Berries, located in Henley, is a relatively new and special coffee shop, mainly because they roast their own beans! When lockdown hit, they quickly closed their doors and offered a delivery service. By buying their beans, we were able to support them and continue to enjoy the essential cup, or two, of coffee at home! Since lockdown has been eased, they’ve opened up again, serving baked goods, wraps, sandwiches etc. There is ALWAYS a queue outside and one I am prepared to wait in!
A family run cafe, in a village I adore, which I’ve been visiting for years. So popular that you have to book at the weekend if you want to eat in, or be prepared to sit outside and brave whatever the British weather brings on the day! Initially closing their doors and kitchen, they bounced back after a few weeks, offering “fill your freezer” meals and baked goods for collection – changing weekly, all can be ordered from their social media pages or website. We purchased a few and boy were they delicious – I had a Thai chicken curry and my parents had a beef dish and a vegetable lasagna – perfect for an evening when we didn’t fancy cooking. Since a few weeks ago, they’ve opened up their hatch again to serve coffee, their popular jam doughnuts, my favourite, their vegan granola bar! Plus much more! I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked if it’s on their counter or begged for it to be made…! Steph and Phil are probably sick of me asking for it! It’s been lovely to see them open again and a real treat after a long walk by the river, which has become a regular occurrence on a Friday. Thank you guys for reopening and bring your smiles and positivity!
A new cafe to Caversham and I have to take my hat off to them for opening during this weird time. However, from the looks and visiting myself, they’ve been doing amazing and the support from the local community has been incredible. Nestled just out of the centre of the town, this cafe is beautiful. Light, airy, clean and welcoming, they offer a range of sweet and savoury baked goods, coffee, local eggs, fresh bread and a selection of gifts and cards. I’ve visited twice, once on their first weekend and more recently, taking Charlie with me after our run. I look forward to visiting more and being able to sit in and enjoy brunch when we are allowed to do so. Check out their website and find out more about them, here!
Lastly, if you are in the Henley area, check out The Henley Basket. An online support website where you can order takeaway, food and much more from local businesses, cafes and restaurants in Henley. With safe collection, I think it’s a great idea to keep the small independent businesses open! You can find out more about it by going to the website!
I want to thank all of these local businesses and cafes for opening back up, safely, to the community. It’s been so lovely to see you all so positive, smiley and keeping spirits high during these uncertain times.
I hope you’ve all had a good week and weekend, hopefully we are one step closer to being out of this. For now, take care and sending much love to you all!