It might be 200 years since scurvy was rife in Russell but there are people in the old sailing port crying out for fresh vegetables.
A computer glitch at Foodstuffs' Auckland depot, which supplies Four Square, New World and Pak'nSave outlets, has dried up some bulk fruit and vegetable supplies to Northland.
Customers at some convenience stores have been greatly inconvenienced.
Since Monday it has been hit and miss whether some shops, particularly smaller ones, received what they ordered after Foodstuffs introduced a new online ordering system. In some instances, bananas have been sent instead of tomatoes, and trucks have arrived with a fraction of the other goods ordered.
Foodstuffs NZ communications director Antoinette Shallue said the company was working long hours to solve the problem.
"Foodstuffs is currently implementing a new warehouse management system and as a result, we are experiencing some delays in the system. We are working around the clock to solve these issues so as to minimise any disruption. We expect this to be completed in the very near future," she said.
Store managers have been patient.
Two stores in Russell have been unable to keep up with demand for fresh produce and customers were complaining, said the manager of one of them, Alok Patel from Russell Four Square.
One dissatisfied local customer described the situation as "abysmal and putting local businesses under great pressure".
By yesterday afternoon, supplies had begun to get through, said Coopers Beach Four Square manager Josh Hobbs. The glitch hadn't "been a real biggie", he said.
At the much larger Pak'nSave supermarket in Kaitaia, produce manager Heather Foster was philosophical.
"It's not ideal but what can you do? The trucks have been running late and there are about three lines (of produce) we haven't been able to get at all, but it hasn't affected us too badly and we haven't had customers complain.
"I can't see it lasting more than another couple of days. We're at a disadvantage up here though, because we rely on those orders.
"If you're in Auckland you can jump in a vehicle and go to the warehouse to pick up what you need."