Recently I looked back at all that has been achieved and began to question other experiences of using a new company that was set up in such an unusual situation. I reached out to some of our customers who have been with us right from the start and asked them if they wanted to share their own journey of our Milton Keynes veg box service through a pandemic.
This was the first reply.
TS Eliot said April is the cruellest month – for us it was March. We were hit by a perfect storm. My wife had incurable lung cancer and so – as a result of the emerging COVID-19 crisis – was told to shield indefinitely. And that meant me, too. No more trips to the market. House arrest.
We have a large vegetable garden, but I was not able to tend it, and – in any case – I had not done the usual winter planting as I was looking after my wife.
As luck would have it, and luck is in very short supply here, I came across Molly’s Pantry who were building a local delivery service for vegetable boxes. Initially, we ordered from Molly’s Pantry through Facebook Messenger, and paid via BACS.
The boxes were extremely competitively priced and contained everything we liked. We do not eat meat, so fruit and vegetables are hugely – if not vitally – important to us.
The quality of the produce was, and is, outstanding. I could feed a hungry family without effort for a week. We loved the fact this was local produce with a history and a story. We were hugely grateful to Jolyon (and occasionally a small helper) who delivered our box with a smile every week for three long months. Our neighbours saw the quality of the produce and promptly put in an order.
One of the many things that is so good about Molly’s Pantry is their flexibility and can-do attitude.
If someone missed the deadline for placing an order, they would bend over backwards to make sure the food was delivered. Their customer service puts others to shame; they worked long hours from little reward (and still do), but boy, were they appreciated.
They somehow found time to build a website that made ordering easier and more flexible, with a variety of locally sourced fruit and vegetables and a growing range of other much-needed supplies.
The website is here: https://www.mollyspantry.co.uk
Sadly, at the end of May I lost my wife and my children lost their beloved mother after a hugely courageous fight against cancer. I am so grateful that we managed to keep her fed with her favourite things right to the end.
Molly’s Pantry then took on a physical presence when they opened their shop at 111 Buckingham Rd, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK3 5HZ. The shop is a joy. It is small, but well-laid out, with boxes of beautiful produce whose quality is top-class.
The Pantry also sells all manner of other items that are carefully selected for their eco and ethical credentials – check out the website. They also roped in the fabulous Starship robots so deliveries can and are loaded into the little trucks that then trundle off to make somebody’s life a little better and certainly easier.
And in the midst of Wave Two of COVID-19, when the government decided not to give school meals for disadvantaged children in their holidays, Molly’s Pantry took it upon themselves to organise fruit and vegetable boxes free of charge for those who most needed them.
Except they were not free.
Molly’s Pantry underwrote the costs along with generous donations from the community appalled by government policy towards those who most need protection.
This is not a small corner shop. This is a social enterprise with a beating heart, and a conscience and they deserve our support.
Go and buy.
Please. You will not regret it.