The Rise of ‘Local’ in a pandemic – a shot in the arm for local food and wine producers

James MacNay loading up the van with the food for Hailsham Foodbank.

Who would have thought that a national pandemic would have propelled the role of local food businesses and producers into an epic orbit.

That is just what has happened for Cuculo Cheese and Wine in Heathfield, East Sussex.

This small specialist shop has been busy with non-stop deliveries on their newly acquired electric bike, click and collect from the store and regular courier deliveries. This has caused the owners of Cuculo to focus on their local community and to commit time and effort to making a difference.

When, as part of the Marcus Rashford campaign; they made an offer to supply free lunches for anyone in need they were over whelmed with offers of support – so much so that in the end they raised over £1000 and were able to donate a van load of food to Hailsham Food bank.

735 Meals

The food bank sent a note of thanks confirming that the total weight was 309kg, which provided a quite extraordinary 735 meals for families in crisis within Heathfield and Hailsham. Another positive that has come out of this is their support for local food and wine businesses especially in the local cheese and wine sector like The Traditional Cheese Dairy, Greenacres at Golden Cross, Sussex High Weald Dairy, Alsop and Walker, Kingcott Dairy, Winterdale Cheesemakers, Off the Line Vineyard, Hidden Spring, Blackboys Vineyard and Beacon Down Wines. Cuculo stock these and other local producers.

Working Locally 
Cinzia, Co founder of Cuculo, is also working with the local Heathfield Community College and Wealden Works. She has volunteered to be part of their Employer Mentoring Scheme; to support young people who are interested in working in the fine foods sector.

Cuculo has also been justly recognized as a finalist in the Farm Shop & Deli awards in the Cheesemonger category. The winners will be announced in early July