Tamara Machavariani has been working hard from her offices in Dubai to make a name for herself in the region’s wholesale markets and it seems she is succeeding. She has recently been interviewed by Forbes Georgia regarding being the first person to import carrots from Georgia for the GCC wholesale markets.
As we get further into the New Year, there seems to be a steady increase in the amount of both red and brown onions on the market. However, due to the adverse weather conditions while harvesting, not all stock is in the best condition. According to growers at the show, this is apparent not only in the UK but all over Europe.
Nevertheless, there are still decent stocks of good quality packing and processing onions becoming available, with those who harvested in dryer conditions benefiting the most.
The European brassica needed to show its resilience after this year’s weather. Huge volumes of rain all across Europe caused trouble across the brassica market. In Spain broccoli growers had a particularly hard time due to the cold weather and storms, whereby in the UK and Netherlands rain was the main problem, hindering farms’ ability to get into the fields.
Availability for cabbages in Western Europe seems strong for now, however the affects of this years weather are catching up. Cauliflower and broccoli are a little more sensitive with many buyers having to look outside of the usual areas for reliable supply.
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
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.
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
2-3 tablespoons flaked almonds or pumpkin seeds
1-2 tablespoons double cream
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
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.
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
125ml chicken stock
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 to 10 peeled roasted whole chestnuts
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.
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.
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 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:
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.
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.
The South African citrus season is now underway, with lemons and navel oranges in the north of the country about to replace easy-peelers.
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.