AS restaurants and hotels shut their doors to limit the spread of Covid-19, a Cork-based fruit and vegetable supplier has been left with almost 60,000 lbs worth of fresh stock.
AllFresh Wholesalers is now donating the stock and has appealed to charities who could make use of the food to get in touch.
The company, which has retailed in Cork for the last 25 years, has a warehouse full of apples, oranges, pineapples, melons, salads, onions, tomatoes and sweet potatoes, to name a few, which will be donated to charities in need.
Owner of AllFresh Wholesalers, Barra Sweetman, said that the company which supplies hotels and restaurants of Cork county and some of Kerry, is still trading but has very little retail since the shutting down of the hospitality sector.
“We’re still trading, we have very little retail. The likes of SuperValu buy off of central billing, they don’t buy off local suppliers so if they could buy stuff off us rather than buying off their central billing supplier that’d be great because they’re still trading. Chippers, we do a few and they’re still trading,” he said.
He said that stock will continue to be bought as they need it.
“We had the stock rolling, some of it is coming out of Spain, some of it is coming out of Holland so when we knew last Thursday that this thing was going in the wrong direction, we couldn’t cut back the quantity of stock coming fast enough, we cut back some of it.”
A fraction of the company’s turnover was met yesterday after supplying nursing homes, refugee centres and retail and the remainder of the stock will be given to charities.
“We went to Penny Dinners this morning with about €1,500 worth of stock. We’ll keep selling as much as we can but come Friday we'll see what’s going to be bad next Monday we might as well give that away today as throw it out next Monday.
“We’re reaching out to charities that need stuff and we will deliver it. We mightn’t always have exactly what they want but we’re up to our ears in salads and onions, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, especially the fancy veg because we’re dealing mainly with top end hotels, your five stars such as Fota, Hayfield, and Rochestown Park.
He said that people are continuing to do their own shopping at AllFresh Wholesalers which has helped the company but that the company is also limiting the amount of people shopping at one time.
Mr Sweetman said that he wants to also support the front line services and make up fruit boxes for healthcare staff.
“I would love to do up fruit boxes for the frontline staff. I would drop it to the hospitals or deliver to their homes so that they can have it for themselves,” he said.
Although the foreseeable future is unpredictable for the company, it will continue to “stay going” for the nursing homes.
Mr Sweetman encouraged people to “stay positive, work together and share the pain”.