A FARMER has attempted to turn his business around after losing all of his sales to the restaurant sector in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Pete Thompson, a third-generation farmer from Great Oakley, has launched a new fruit and vegetable box delivery service, called Holt Farm to keep his business going and to make sure food does not go to waste.

Mr Thompson, whose family farm grows products for the Chinese restaurant market in the UK, as well as apples, pears and plums, found his business is facing a sudden loss of revenue as the restaurants which he supplied were forced to close.

The 44-year-old businessman, of Stones Green Road, Great Oakley said: “We are operating our fruit and vegetable delivery boxes to keep some of our staff employed and ensure people have access to fresh food.

“As well as making sure the crops which were already in the ground will not be wasted.

“It’s been an incredibly fast learning curve since we launched this business, and incredibly rewarding dealing directly with customers.

“It is a refreshing change from working with a big business.

“This is a long-term plan for us, to help people during the current crisis, but we hope it just marks the start of selling products directly to residents.”

Mr Thompson, dad-of-two, has been working with other growers including Fairfield Farm potatoes and strawberry growers, Wicks Manor Pork, Hillfarm Oils, Crude Coffee and will soon add artisan bread, milk and eggs to its delivery boxes.

People can choose from five boxes including large, small, English-grown, Gourmet and Just Fruit.

Contents will change weekly with the seasons and include rhubarb, spring greens and salad onions from Holt Farm itself.

For more information visit holt-farm.co.uk.

The Standard is backing businesses in these tough times and you can support the campaign by using the hashtag #BackingEssexBusiness.

You can praise a business by emailing hms.news@newsquest.co.uk.