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Corporate

Roasted Organic Beetroot Soup with Horseradish Cream

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Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1kg organic beetroot
4 garlic cloves (unpeeled), bashed
2-3 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
3 tbs olive oil
1 litre vegetable stock
Salt and pepper

For Horseradish Cream
3-4cm piece of fresh horseradish, peeled and freshly grated
200ml soured cream

To Finish
Dill fronds

Method

Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6
Scrub whole beetroot. Place them in a roasting tin and scatter with garlic, thyme and bay leaf, trickle with oil and season. With your hands, mix everything together, so that everything is well coated. Pour a glass of water into the tin and cover tightly with foil. Roast for about an hour, or until the beetroot are tender.

While beetroot are roasting, make the horseradish cream: in a bowl, mix the grated horesradish with the soured cream.

Remove the foil from the roasting tin and leave the beetroot until they are cool enough to handle. Top and tail them and peel or rub of skins. Roughly chop the beetroot.

Squeeze the soft garic from the ksins and place them in a blender with the beetroot. Process with emough stck to make a smooth purée, then transfer to a saucepan and thin with further with stock to get the texture you like.

Heat through, over a medium heat, till thoroughly hot. Test seasoning, pour into bowl with horesrdish cream and dill fronds.

Parsnip and ginger soup

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Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil15g butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4-5cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
500g parsnips, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
800ml vegetable stock
200ml whole milk
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To finish
2-3 tablespoons flaked almonds or pumpkin seeds
1-2 tablespoons double cream

Method

Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan over a medium-low heat and sauté the onion for about 10 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, cardamom, cumin, and cayenne and stir for a couple of minutes. Tip in the parsnips and stir in until well coated in the spices. Pour in the stock, season with salt and pepper and simmer until the parsnips are very soft – about 15 minutes.

Allow the soup to cool slightly, then purée in a food processor or blender, or using a stick blender, until smooth. Return the soup to the pan, add the milk and adjust the seasoning. Warm through gently – if the soup is a bit thick, then thin it with some hot water.

While the soup is warming, toast the almonds or pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan until just beginning to turn gold.

Serve the soup in warmed bowls with a trickle cream, and the toasted almonds or pumpkin seeds scattered over the top

Exporting UK onions to Malaysia

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Rush Group are taking advantage of current political and economic markets and are starting to export UK onions to their offices in South East Asia. With three containers a week making their way to Malaysian supermarkets, they are demonstrating that the UK can compete with other European countries with onion prices, shipping, and specific retail packaging types.

Gaining industry knowledge from relationships at either end of the supply chain has allowed Rush Group to break into these Malaysian markets with onions. Nat Bacon says: “Malaysia has very specific packing and labelling requirements, which the UK may not necessarily be experienced with being a net importer of fresh produce. These customers generally like small onions packed in specially branded and labelled 9kg and 15kg nets so we are working hard with the packing stations to comply with these requests and make the business a success.”

“The quality of British produce generally out-competes anything in the market and with a large number of ex-pats living in Malaysia as well, there could be a long and successful presence for UK brands in South East Asia.”

If you are based in South East Asia and looking for a reliable supply of competitively priced UK onions, please contact Rush Group today.

Parsley root soup with chestnuts

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Serves: 8

Ingredients
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves, chopped
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1.5kg  parsley root (about 4 1/2 pounds total with tops), tops discarded and root peeled and chopped
3 (4- to 5-inch) sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
250ml water
125ml chicken stock
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 to 10 peeled roasted whole chestnuts

Method

Make soup:
1. Cook onion and garlic in butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and golden, 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Add parsley root, thyme, bay leaf, white pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until parsley root begins to soften, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Add water and broth and simmer, partially covered, until parsley root is very tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
4. Discard thyme and bay leaf and stir in oil.
5. Purée soup in batches in a blender until smooth, transferring to a bowl. If soup is too thick, thin to desired consistency with water.
6. Season with salt, then return to cleaned pot to keep warm, covered, until ready to serve.
7. Shave chestnuts with an adjustable-blade slicer or sharp vegetable peeler as thinly as possible over each serving.

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 – 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.

British-grown sweet potatoes

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There has been a lot of excitement recently with the news that sweet potatoes are now being grown in Britain – particularly regarding the thought that this will cut down on the vegetable’s carbon footprint.

Here at Rush we are very conscious of food miles, carbon footprint and are proud supporters of British grown food, but we can’t help but feel that the way this story has been reported is a little over-simplistic.

Whilst we agree that not having to import sweet potatoes from America will obviously decrease the vegetables carbon footprint when it comes to transport, fresh produce’s CO2 emissions don’t come solely from this stage of the cycle. It is highly likely that these sweet potatoes will be grown in heated polythene tunnels, using special mulch – both of which emit a large amount of carbon dioxide.

It’s only a guess, but we suspect that the yield per acre for British sweet potatoes is going to be far less than their American cousins, where the average is 15-20 tonne an acre. This lower yield translates again into a proportionally higher carbon dioxide emission per acre for the British grown varieties.

So whilst we are very excited about locally grown sweet potatoes and support everyone involved, we believe that it will take another five to ten years, with significant agronomy and technical advances, before we can truly grow a sweet potato with less of a carbon footprint than those imported from USA, Honduras,  Spain, Portugal, Egypt and Israel.

Rush thinks it would be great if Britain grew their own sweet potatoes, but to do that would require someone producing breeds and varieties that can actually grow naturally in the local climate. That is probably a long way off – and by the way, if it isn’t we would love to hear from you.

 

Rush’s Polish office has two new members

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Rush’s increasing business in Eastern Europe has meant that the Polish office has recently grown in size. Eryka Kutryj and Adam Owczarek are the new recruits and taking five minutes out of their busy day they explain amongst other things, why they were keen to join Rush and what they see as the biggest challenges in the Polish fresh produce market.

What is your role?

Eryka: I am Marcin and Justyna’s assistant. My main duties involve researching the fruit and vegetable market in Eastern Europe, with particular emphasis on leeks, onions, broccoli and cauliflowers. I also help organise all transportation on a daily basis, as well as looking into improving fresh produce haulage in general in Poland and other East European countries, as presently most local companies are mainly interested in West Europe, but obviously we need to provide the normal Rush transportation service to all our customers, wherever they are.

Adam: I am a trader’s assistant; most of my working day is spent dealing with the wholesale markets, particularly dealing with pomelos, celeriac, onions, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and lemons. I prepare offers and customise them to fit their individual needs. Wholesale markets in Poland are in a constant state of flux, no two days are the same, which requires me to be in constant contact on a daily basis to keep up to date with the state of the markets. I also organise transport and make sure that each delivery is as seamless as possible, as Rush’s reputation of delivering on time needs to be preserved.

What did you do before joining Rush?

Eryka: I was working for a global haulage company in United Kingdom – hence Marcin and Justyna asking me to help with transportation in Poland and around.

Adam: I was working for the Poland’s largest supermarket nursery product supplier, dealing in such items as fruit trees. This gave me the necessary experience of dealing in perishable goods.

What made you want to get into the fresh produce industry?

Eryka: Because it is such a vibrant and exciting industry to work in. It is ever-changing, developing and growing on a regular basis, meaning no two days are ever the same.

Adam: Much the same as Eryka really. This industry, particularly in Eastern Europe is changing rapidly and in turn creating opportunities that need to be seized and problems that need to be sorted. I am naturally drawn to turning a negative as a positive and so providing the best deals for both growers and customers alike.

What made you want to join Rush Group?

Eryka: Rush has a true global presence with offices throughout Europe and South East Asia, however its approach is still a personal one. This means, even though my colleagues might be miles away in different time zones, we all still operate as one team, which gives our customers a unique access to fresh produce all around the world.

Adam: A whole mixture of reasons, including the people who have such a positive, energetic and intelligent approach to their work. There is also a very friendly atmosphere, which means that everyone, wherever they are in the world works together, ensuring that our customers have a connection with some of the finest growers and farmers in the world.

What do you see as the main issues facing the fresh produce industry in Poland at the moment and how are you tackling them?

Eryka: The hot summer this year has caused real problems for us, as it has created a real lack of variety with some of Poland’s most popular vegetables. I am actively working with new, but trusted growers, to help fill this void.

Adam: As Eryka has already said the blistering hot summer where temperatures reached 35˚C this year, has meant a real shortage in some vegetables – particularly potatoes and large onions. In the wholesale market there are also extra problems with supermarkets slashing their prices, and my customers need to lower the prices too. To alleviate this issue, we approach wholesale market customers and supermarkets customers in a way that suits their particular needs. Rather than treating all our customers in exactly the same way, we treat them as individuals and so offer each sector something completely different, according to their requirements.

What do you believe Rush can offer your customers that other fresh produce companies cannot?

Eryka and Adam: Our international network of offices translates into our customers having an infinite variety of fresh produce available 365 days a year, delivered at the right price, the right quality and at the right time.

From seed potato to potato harvest

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Rush Group’s commitment to be involved with its crop from seed to sale is no more relevant than with its potatoes.

A hand-picked collection of Rush Group’s trusted potato farmers have been given the seed potatoes for next year’s crop, enabling the Group to be involved and in control of the entire process. The potatoes that are yielded from this crop, eight months later, will then be bought back by Rush, to fulfil orders, some of which will be placed in advance.

Rush’s potato growers like this arrangement, as they know that they will have a crop that will yield well. This is because they have been provided with seed potatoes that because of both Rush’s and the farmers’ knowledge are suitable for their particular soil and climate. Added to this, is that the crop should have a profitable market, based on Rush’s understanding of and experience in, the potato market. The farmers also have the assurance that will get paid for the crop they are growing, rather than leaving it to chance.

The Group’s customers also benefit from this method, as they can be confident that they know in advance exactly what potatoes they will be receiving. They are secure in the knowledge that the combination of Rush’s reliable supply base and technical product knowledge, translates into the right crop being grown and being delivered in the right condition at the right price.

This hands-on approach to its crop has proved highly successful for Rush and is going from strength to strength. Guy Burgoyne says: “ We have been carrying out this method for a while now with great success, so now is the right time to spread the news. This practice is particularly popular with our customers in the supermarket, catering, wholesale and packing sectors, as we are able to grow to order for them – which means no last minute panics, as they know what they are going to get.”

If you are interested in growing potatoes for, or buying potatoes from Rush Group, please contact Guy Burgoyne