A Hampshire farm shop has had a £60,000 make-over following unprecedented demand during and after the Covid-19 lockdown.
Westlands Farm Shop at Pricketts Hill near Wickham has expanded to improve its offering to the public while cutting back on plastics and packaging.
The family-run business has also launched a fresh milk vending machine where the public can fill their own containers, as well as dried food and cereals refill stations.
Westlands has also teamed up with ‘Fill’ which supplies no-waste biodegradable and environmentally responsible cleaning products for people with their own containers.
Graham and Kayleigh Collett, the second generation owners of farm shop, decided on the investment when lockdown came in and they were forced to close the tea room.
“We have been a bit cramped for space in the farm shop as the demand for more ethically-produced and locally-sourced products has continued during and after the Covid-19 lockdown,” said Ms Collett.
“We felt that we could make better use of the space where the tea room used to be by having a wider range of products that were more aligned with our own ethical and environmental priorities."
The couple said they wanted to offer more to the public while reducing the company's reliance on plastics and packaging.
That's why they chose refill stations where people can buy as little or as much as they need and fill their own containers.
Ms Collett added: “We are especially pleased to be able to offer fresh Meon Valley Milk from a vending machine.
"People can refill their own bottles with milk that comes from cows a couple of miles away while cutting down further on the need to have plastic or more glass bottles."
Meon Valley MP Flick Drummond cut the ribbon to officially launch the new look shop on Thursday 15 October.
It follows a report which highlighted the importance of prioritising a sustainable and localised food supply chain amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Nature Friendly Farming Network said the sight of empty supermarket shelves and fears of labour shortages showed how much farmers needed consumer support.
New research unveiled this month shows that the majority of British consumers now buy more home-grown produce as a result of the coronavirus crisis.