Monthly Archives

May 2016

A reliable supply of salad potatoes

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It’s that time of year – Easter has been and gone, which means it is time for salad potatoes. However this year there is a reported shortage, due to the fact that farmers have cut back on planted acreage.

Salad potatoes are, comparatively, an expensive crop to grow, and last year’s low prices due to global oversupply has made potato farmers more risk averse which makes planting more price-stable crops seem preferable. This decreased planted area, combined with lower average yields due to the colder weather during the early part of the growing season, has resulted in a lack of supply to the market.

However, due to their history and product knowledge – the Group’s roots are based in the Cornish salad potato industry, Rush can still supply salad potatoes on a regular basis, even when there is a global shortage. So how can they do this?

1) Farmers
The Group’s salad potato farmers are located over large parts of UK and the Mediterranean, giving Rush a good growing base.

2) Agronomists and Territory Managers
They play an important role, as regards quality control. They have recently visited a number of farms in Europe looking at the quality of the contracted material and can report that ‘things are looking good’.

3) Logistics and storage
The Group’s expertise, including their range of strategically placed storage depots in UK, Croatia and the Netherlands, means that their salad potatoes can be delivered quickly and efficiently all over the Continent, ensuring the crop arrives in the best possible condition.

4) Network of offices
The Group’s offices around Europe provide ‘on the ground’ knowledge that allows the Group to give their salad potato customers exactly what they want.

5) Industry knowledge and experience
The old adage, right crop at the right time, has never been so true as it is with salad potatoes this season. However probably the most influential factor enabling Rush to supply salad potatoes even when short, is industry knowledge and experience, as without this, all the potato farmers, agronomists and depots would not amount to much.

So to ensure you are not left short, get in touch with James Bulford today.

Organics – a reliable source, naturally

By | Growers, Customers | No Comments

There has been a lot of coverage in the trade press recently about the rise in sales of organic fresh produce – and looking at our order book, we at Rush would concur.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of working in this sector is meeting our farmers, as they are all so passionate about the crops they grow. They all have an admirable commitment to growing sustainable food that works in harmony with nature and encourages bio-diversity. All of our growers are continually audited to ensure that they meet the exacting standards set by The Soil Association.

The most popular organics we deal in are: potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes and butternut squash, though our organic range is ever expanding.

Potatoes
Our organic potatoes are grown in the United Kingdom, Egypt, Israel, Italy and Holland, meaning that we can supply our customers with a consistent supply throughout the year. Our potatoes are currently being shipped to Europe, Eastern Europe in particular, mainly to supermarkets and packers.

If you are an organic potato farmer looking for a profitable home for your crop, or a present or potential customer in need of a reliable supply, please contact James Bulford today.

Onions
These are mainly grown in Egypt, Italy, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Germany and Austria. In turn our onions find their way to packers and supermarkets in The Netherlands, Germany and Eastern Europe.

Please contact Nat Bacon if you are either an organic onion farmer or someone looking for a consistent supply of organic onions, delivered at the right price and at the right time.

Sweet potatoes and butternut squash
Our sweet potatoes come mainly from USA, Spain and Portugal, and then onto packers mainly in Europe. Whilst our butternut squash is grown in Portugal, Spain and Italy and is exported to retail customers in Holland and the United Kingdom.

Sam Crocker looks after both organic products; so if you are looking for a 365-day a year supply, please contact him. He is also interested in hearing from growers who can meet the Group’s stringent requirements.

 

 

Meet Joe Yates – Rush Group’s new fieldsman

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Joe has recently joined the company as the fieldsman who looks after their English potato farmers. Here he tells us a bit about himself and his passion for promoting British farmers and their produce.

What got you into agriculture?
I studied Environmental Management at Harper Adams, but whilst at university I found agriculture more interesting. Not surprising really, as from about the age of 14 I spent a lot of time on various local farms.

While I was studying, I had a placement on an environmentally friendly farm that grew potatoes, wheat and rye. Looking back, it was this experience that really cemented my interest in agriculture.

What did you do after graduating?
My first job was at J. Sainsbury in an administrational role, which offered me opportunities to visit head office and meet the buyers. This experience taught me about how a supermarket reacts to new trends and new demands within the food industry. Most importantly, this job taught me the importance of communication, and the ability to form relationships with everyone.

My favourite memory of working at J. Sainsbury was when I visited one of their farms, where I harvested and graded some potatoes myself. Seeing them on the supermarket shelves gave me a real sense of achievement. So when the job opportunity at Rush came up, it was the perfect way for me to fulfil my agricultural dreams.

What does your job at Rush entail?
One of my main responsibilities is finding new British potato growers, which is something that really excites me, as I am passionate about promoting British farmers. I love spending time meeting the farmers either in the field, the yard or the pack house.

What type of farmer are you looking for?
Professionalism is the most important attribute. Regarding quality, Rush has markets for the full range of potatoes. Quality control is obviously really important and so takes up a lot of my working day.

Oh and if the farmers can fill jumbo bags, that is a big bonus as that enables us to export the potatoes to the EU.

What do you like most about working at Rush?
The travelling and meeting new people. I love the British countryside  – especially the way it changes throughout the seasons. I also feel proud to be able to expose British produce to Britain and the rest of the world – hopefully.

I also have a fabulous network of colleagues all around Europe (and beyond), with experience second to none.

 

If you are a British potato farmer and want a secure exposure to an international market, contact Joe Yates today.

Rush Poland

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In a new regular feature, we take a look at what is going on in the Rush offices around the globe. We focus first on Poland.

What are your most popular products at the moment?
Potatoes – both old and new crop. Our Polish supermarket and packer customers come to us as they know that with our global network of farmers and offices, we have access to the right quality potatoes 52 weeks a year, delivered at the right time and at the right price.

Where are the potatoes coming from?
The set skin new season are coming from Egypt and are heading mainly for our Polish supermarket and packing clients. Our old crop is coming mainly from United Kingdom and France, for our packers in Poland and Czech Republic. It won’t be long before our very own Polish potatoes will be available – probably around the middle of May. Before that, Greek potatoes will be coming on board (in about two or three weeks’ time), so it is a very busy time of the year.

What other products are popular right now?
Onions – many trucks of red onions are coming in to supply our packing and wholesale customers. Meanwhile we are exporting polish brown onions to Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria for our North Eastern European office’s customers, who are also taking a lot of Polish and Lithuanian carrots.

We are also supplying Polish packers with UK parsley root, while sweet potatoes from USA are being delivered to packers and wholesale markets in Poland.

Does it help having two offices in Eastern Europe?
Yes it really does, there is a symbiotic relationship between us. We help each other out, which of course is highly beneficial for our customers not just in East Europe but also all around the globe. It gives us fantastic ‘on the ground’ local knowledge, which translates into a reliable supply of fresh produce throughout the year.

For a regular supply of fresh produce, please contact the Polish office today.

 

Rush Group grows its own sweet potatoes

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In the sweet potato calendar, September is normally a difficult month, as this is when the American market starts drying up; their shipping has come to an end and the new season is yet to start.

Rush Group, in order to keep to their promise of ‘supplying sweet potatoes 52 weeks a year’ has decided to grow its own sweet potatoes in Portugal to help overcome the shortage in supply from America.

Rush Group has chosen to grow its sweet potatoes in Portugal because the climate is excellent, they have a trusted group of farmers who have grown for them in the past and the Group’s technical director is based here.

Rush Group’s sweet potatoes will be ready in September and the following two-month period. They should be of excellent quality, and will be cured as all American sweet potatoes are.

Sam Crocker of Rush Group says: “The Portuguese sweet potato industry is in its infancy, and I know there is a view that Europe cannot compete with America. We are not trying to compete; we just want to ensure there is a supply of sweet potatoes in September to keep our customers satisfied. Also with our technical director being on hand throughout the whole growing process, we are confident that the quality of our first crop will meet our clients’ requirements.”

If you are looking for a year-long reliable supply of sweet potatoes, please contact Sam Crocker today

Rush Group – now supplying fresh produce in Africa

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Rush Group has recently opened a new satellite office in Africa – in Zambia to be precise. Andrew Chance (who heads up the operation) explains why.

“ I am a native, and have first-hand experience of the area. This continent is so fertile and the population is ever-expanding, so the opportunities are great for both exporting and importing of fresh produce. The Rush ethos is to always try to have someone ‘on the ground,’ as the local knowledge that this provides is invaluable and helps us to live up to our ‘right product, right time, right price’ policy.’ Geographically, being based here helps with both Northern and Southern Hemisphere produce – especially apples and other tree-fruit, which are my particular interest.”

Here is a brief overview of what Andrew and his team are involved with at the moment:

Top Fruit
As Northern Hemisphere top fruit cease, Southern Hemisphere top fruit take their place. We are shipping eating apples from New Zealand and South Africa to Asia, Middle East and Europe, including Scandinavia. We are also exporting juicing apples for EU customers.
 
Legumes
A constant supply of shelled peas, fine beans, mange touts and other legumes are being airfreighted to the United Kingdom and Scandinavia for the wholesale and food service markets.

Citrus
The South African citrus season is now underway, with lemons and navel oranges in the north of the country about to replace easy-peelers.

Potatoes
Rush is continuing its supply of potatoes to important customers in Nigeria and Angola.

Andrew says: “ It’s a busy time of year for us, and the challenges that come with accreditation and logistics are ever-present. However being a local I am used to this, and having a grass-roots presence certainly helps overcome any potential problems”.

If you are looking for a reliable supply of apples, legumes, citrus fruits, potatoes and pears, please contact Andrew Chance today.