Monthly Archives

January 2015

Meet Nat Bacon

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Nat heads up Rush Group’s onion business and is spending a lot of time travelling to the Middle East and Europe, where he is busy building up an ever-growing network of clients looking to import onions.

Farming is in your blood- tell us more

I grew up on a mixed farm in Norfolk, so I am passionate about agriculture and the British countryside (and other rural regions of the world). I worked on the farm throughout my time at school, when I was reading Ecology at Edinburgh and then whilst studying Land Management at Reading. The combinations of these academic and practical experiences have really helped me understand about both the natural and mechanical issues faced by farmers on a daily basis.

I really admire Rush’s ‘from seed to sale’ approach. I think it is really important to both grower and customer that we are fully involved in everything we handle, right throughout the supply chain.

What attracted you to the fresh produce industry?

Apart from my farming background, I have always been interested in the notion of ‘less land, more mouths to feed’ and the way that agriculture and the food industry is currently evolving. These changes are throwing up many fresh challenges each day and with more pressure and instability in the world, these are only going to become more volatile and testing in the future.

This dynamic industry is ever-changing and no two days are the same. I like to think of myself as an organised person, so I enjoy the whole logistical process, making sure that everything is collected and delivered on time with the right documentation. However, I do also understand the practicalities of farming so can accommodate for delays or difficult scenarios which can arise when moving fresh produce around the world.

Why Rush?

I saw the job advertised on the internet, and I liked the international feel of the company. Having spent time in Africa, I enjoy discovering different countries and cultures, and it became clear in my interview that Rush was keen to expand on a global basis.

I also warmed to the challenge of building the company’s onion business from scratch and developing relationships with growers and customers from all around the world on a daily basis.

Tell us how you are working with British onion growers?

As any farmer will tell you, some seasons are better than others, and this European season is a challenging one due to a surplus of produce and the slight dip in demand. However, the good news is, British onions (and potatoes) are regarded as some of the finest in the world by our overseas customers, so I have been actively marketing their products abroad. In fact I have just come back from Dubai, where I was doing just this and we are hoping to increase the volume we are sending to our Malaysian office.

Why Dubai?

It holds such fantastic opportunities for us, primarily because it has to import all its fresh produce. Dubai is also a massive distribution hub for the whole of the UAE through its port at Jebel Ali which has the capacity to hold 90,000 containers! The wholesale market is incredibly impressive and in addition to the multi-tiered retail market and huge choice of originality of produce, I believe there is huge potential for European onions.

What did you learn on your recent trip?

Masses – I don’t know where to start! Mainly though, it was the face to face meetings which I thought were the most valuable. The understanding of a culture and etiquette one builds up through travelling and the resulting rapport with potential customers is so important when looking to do business. It just goes to remind one, that however sophisticated the fresh produce market has become, nothing beats the personal touch.

If you are looking for a reliable supply of onions, or are an onion grower looking for new markets, please contact Nat Bacon

Calling British potato and onion growers

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Rush Group is proud to champion British farmers, and none more so than British potato and onion farmers. We are looking to expand our network of suppliers in this sector, as we know that there is a global market for their crop.

We are currently exporting these vegetables all around the world including the West Indies, West Africa, S.E. Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Our network of international offices has allowed us to become experts in logistics and marketing on a global level, so every crop we export is done so in a professional and knowledgeable manner.

British crops are seen as some of the best in the world and we are seeing an ever-increasing demand for top quality fresh produce, so that is why we are looking to work with new farmers.

So if you are interested in exporting your crops abroad without incurring the usual risks, please click here and fill out the brief questionnaire.

When you submit your details you will automatically be entered into our free prize draw, where you could win a weekend in London. The closing date for this is 28th February 2015.

 Alternatively please contact James Bulford or Nat Bacon on 0207 645 6750 if you require further information or would like to discuss this exciting opportunity in person.

The Caribbean – growing trade and changing perception

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Rush Group has a long history of exporting fresh produce, in particular potatoes and onions to the Caribbean and in recent months the trade partnership has grown and strengthened. Tom Ebdon, who heads up the Group’s Caribbean business has just returned from a business trip where he visited a number of islands to spend valuable time with Rush’s ever-growing number of customers in this area.

Tom had already spent three to four months talking to the various companies in the Caribbean before his trip, some of which were established clients and some new. The one common thread that united all these conversations was the pre-conceived notion that Rush would be more expensive than other Northern European countries such as Holland.

While Tom was in the Caribbean, he took the opportunity to explain that other than price, Rush could offer benefits that would make switching from their normal suppliers highly attractive. This could include shorter transit times to the Caribbean and a year round supply chain.

Tom explains: “ We may not always be the cheapest, but we are always competitive and that is something I tried to get across in my meetings. The Caribbean has a long history of importing its fresh produce from Holland.  Whilst we do not want to hinder this current trade, we would like to offer the diversity which a second supplier can offer.  I explained that our global footprint translates into a more reliable supply base.  Something other companies cannot offer’.

The various Islands’ Phytosanitary requirements are unique to each country and Rush Group’s product and technical knowledge is invaluable. This expertise alongside their ability to supply competitively priced fresh produce 365 days a year, has lead to Rush beginning to supply garlic to this ever growing market place.

If you are in the Caribbean and are looking for a company that not only understands your industry but also the Caribbean market, please contact Tom Ebdon today.

 

Providing potatoes, onions and more to Eastern Europe

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Rush Group is continuing to expand its presence in Eastern Europe, with the company now also covering Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece.

Rush has the considerable advantage of having Hajnalka Erdos, a native Hungarian, looking after this area. The combination of having an office in the heart of the region run by a local helps overcome many obstacles normally associated with the fresh produce industry. The product range is wide and varied and includes, potatoes, onions, cabbages, cauliflower and broccoli, but with an ever-growing demand from a region that is not agriculturally self-supportive, this list is only going to expand.

Rush’s global network of farmers and suppliers is really helping the company gain a strong foothold in Eastern Europe as they can offer their customers competitive prices and top quality crops, due to the Group’s ability to source fresh produce on a world wide scale. It is this broad scope approach that has helped them compete in an already competitive market. Hajnalka admits that having access to a global market, through her colleagues work and knowledge, has been invaluable. She says: “It might seem to the outside world that I am on my own in Hungary, but nothing could be further from the truth – the reality is that I can talk to my colleagues all over the world and then use that information to give my customers here in Eastern Europe well-priced, top quality fresh produce.”

Looking to the future, there is a feeling that, as the countries Hajnalka deals with change and develop, some of Rush’s competitors will fall by the way side. There will be more of a focus on companies who are looking to form long-term relationships with their clients, rather than just looking to make a quick profit and move on. Rush’s longevity offers its customers stability and reliability, which in today’s current market is a valuable commodity.

Hajnalka is also passionate about the produce that is grown in her territory. She concedes that being Hungarian might make her biased but she says: “ Due to the hot summers in Eastern Europe the sugar content (brix) of the local vegetables gives them a really sweet taste. I am really looking forward to growing my product range, to include Hungarian sweet corn, asparagus, Champion mushrooms, Serbian blackcurrants or Croatian mandarins, so people can get to taste for themselves, how great local produce tastes.”

So if you are based in Eastern Europe and looking for a reliable source of fresh produce, please contact Hajnalka today.

Investment in technology – changing the perception of Polish apples

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Over the past decade, Poland has made significant investments into top fruit production. Focus on the development of better-organised grower groups has led to Poland becoming an apple producing region that rivals France and Italy.

A vast amount has been invested into orchard development and post-harvest operations. This investment leaves Polish growers with some of the most sophisticated facilities across Europe. An impressive example of this is the increased CA storage capacity which is up nearly 650 000 tonnes in the last ten years and will be over 1 million tonnes in the not-so-distant future. Another example is the investment taken by some of Rush Groups growers to install hail nets, worth up to €70 000 per ha.

Investments into Ultra Low Oxygen (ULO) storage, a system that inhibits and delays the physiological processes in stored fruit, has extended the marketability of the growers fruit for up to nine months (variety dependant).

Improvements in grading systems have also increased the reliability of Polish apples. Optical graders are now common place and Rush Group with its dedicated growers strive to ensure that what you order is what you get.

Please call Andrew Chance to discuss a consistent and reliable supply of top quality Polish apples.