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Dramatic boom of flour sales by lockdown baking

Tuesday, May 5th 2020 - 06:46 UTC
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Heatherslaw Mill in Ford and Etal is grinding about 800kg a week, a 500% increase on its normal level of production Heatherslaw Mill in Ford and Etal is grinding about 800kg a week, a 500% increase on its normal level of production

A mill is producing a month's worth of flour every week to keep up with demand during the coronavirus pandemic. Supermarket shelves have been stripped of flour by shoppers either panic-buying or taking to lockdown baking.

Heatherslaw Mill in Ford and Etal is grinding about 800kg a week - a 500% increase on its normal level of production. Owner Dave Harris-Jones said it was “running as fast as we can make it run with the available power”.

The shops he normally supplies were increasing their orders “dramatically” and “more people than ever” were calling up on spec, he said.

The lack of flour in supermarkets is caused by packaging plants unable to catch up with demand. Shoppers are turning to smaller suppliers who can still pack smaller quantities.

Mr Harris-Jones, who also volunteers for Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue, has used his mill to raise awareness of their work during lockdown.

He has climbed the mill's 32 stairs carrying a 20kg sack of flour 136 times - equivalent to the height of Cheviot, the highest peak in Northumberland.

“We're still seeing people going up on the hills despite all the lockdown measures in places,” he said. Volunteers now have to wear protective equipment during rescues and many are doctors and paramedics.

“They're doing their long shift in hospital and then they're coming home and having to deal with someone who irresponsibly got themselves in trouble just for a few hours no the hills,” Mr Harris-Jones said.

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