Several Islanders were left concerned after being unable to find bags of mixed beans – a vital ingredient for a traditional Jersey dish, bean crock.
But a local supplier has moved to reassured residents that supply levels were returning to normal. A spokesperson for Animal Kingdom, which provides many local stores with mixed beans, yesterday said that most shops had already received stock again.
Ian Barette, the director of Animal Kingdom, said that there was nothing for Islanders to be concerned about, and that there was ‘plenty of stock’ despite occasionally experiencing supply-chain problems during busy periods in the year.
‘We source from all over the world and at this time we are not aware of any problem of supply,’ he said.
‘We had received considerable stock of un-mixed beans prior to Brexit becoming effective and now have enough in the Island to last some months.
‘That said, the Jersey bean crock mix is a traditional formulation that we produce and pack in the Island. Recently we have had some staffing issues and this has affected our supply of finished product to some outlets, but it was a short-term matter and shelves should be back to normal by this week.’
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Co-op confirmed that there was a slight shortage, with just five out of 15 stores currently having the item in stock.
‘Animal Kingdom is our sole supplier and they can’t provide the beans at the moment,’ they said. ‘However, we are expecting them very soon. The Grouville store still has decent stock left.’
Catherine Conway, the director of fruit and vegetable supplier Homefields, said that while there was a brief delay in the supply chain, they were once again receiving mixed beans as usual.
She added: ‘They are really popular and we definitely had wholesale customers waiting, but the kink in the supply chain has been straightened out and it’s all fine now.’
For several weeks shoppers have been complaining of a worrying lack of mixed beans in local shops and supermarkets, a situation one Islander jokingly described as ‘bigger than Brexit’.
Managing director of Pitcher & Le Quesne Paul Battrick said he had searched far and wide across town for the commodity but had come up short – having tried Waitrose, Alliance-Tesco, Morrison’s and the Co-op in St Peter.
‘I couldn’t find any beans anywhere, I tried all the shops in town. Luckily some friends gave me some,’ he said.
‘This is bigger than Brexit. I hope that this can be addressed. I even contacted COBRA [the UK government’s emergency committee] as this is a national crisis.’
And Reg Robson said that he had had to visit several stores in order to find mixed beans for his mum.
Bean crock can be made in many different ways, but generally it requires beans and meat to be slow-cooked in a pot.
Maureen Le Brun – who lives in St Lawrence – was relieved to hear that beans were still available, having cooked bean crock on a regular basis for years.
‘My mum and dad were farmers for many years, as were we,’ she said. ‘I’ve been making it all my married life. It’s a part of Jersey life and was a part of our upbringing.
‘We’ve still got some beans and will definitely be having it again soon.’
When asked what her go-to recipe was, she said: ‘Usually pork and a whole mixture of beans – a real variety.’