2020 was a difficult year in many ways and for many people. At the Bean Store we struggled with long hours, uncertainty, anxiety and at times an oppressive workload. We missed farm walks, hosting visits and shared meals. Many of our crop trials were delayed or suspended for the year and a lot of the plans we’d made were sidelined or scrapped.
But we were also incredibly lucky. We continued to trade where many of our friends in hospitality didn’t, we had our health where others were less fortunate, and we had time to reflect, re-group and make new plans.
We started thinking about other crops we could develop and grow with our farmer group, from other pulses and more grains to herbs and spices.
In March the challenges of lockdown prompted us to start working with Johnny Spilling of the Penny Bun Bakery as he faced the loss of his catering customers. Over the rest of the year we added carefully chosen new products to our range from Britain's land and sea, from Apple Natural fruit leathers, Glebe Farm's Pure Oaty oat drink and Pastificio Carleschi pasta to Halen Mon sea salt and seaweed from Mara in Scotland and Parsons in Wales. We've been delighted to collaborate with the amazing Sourdough School, Easy Bean, Norfolk Saffron, Robbie Crone, Hemp Wholefoods and Earsham Street Café.
Getting to know these producers better has been a source of hope and inspiration in a tough year. We plan to develop these relationships and more in the year ahead.
And we’ve been working on ways to help accelerate the transition to an agroecological food system that Hodmedod was founded to support and that seems more urgent than ever. New ways to help farmers and new ways to communicate the process of change to as big an audience as possible.
So we’re really looking forward to 2021.
The black door opens into a new space at the Sotterley Food Hub and a new phase for Hodmedod. We’ll be sharing some exciting plans later in January.
Warm wishes and thanks from all at the Bean Store to everyone who’s shared our journey and supported us in 2020 - the farmers who grow for us, our customers and suppliers, the campaigning organisations we work with, the cooks and bakers who find new ways of doing incredible things with our ingredients.
Happy New Year!
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Last year (field scale chickpea production year 2) was a real struggle: drought through much of the season, intense heat in late May, then extraordinary rainfall in August. This year (chickpea year 3) hasn’t started much better to be honest: a cold start and prolonged wet conditions are not what chickpeas like.