It's all about the produce - and it's not always perfectly-formed!

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Newly-awarded supplier pays tribute to growers and stresses that looks aren't always an indicator of taste.

COUNTY Supplies, which supplies approximately 805,000 kilograms of potatoes from its warehouse each year, has been named Foodservice Supplier of the Year.

The announcement was made at the recent FPC Awards. The award recognises high-achieving companies and individuals across the fresh produce sectors. 
 
For nearly 20 years, the independent family business has supplied London’s restaurants and prestigious kitchens from its base at New Covent Garden Market. 

The 24/7 operation serves more than 500 customers. It provides chefs, F&B managers, Zookeepers and nutritionists with daily insights into menu planning, produce availability and seasonality.
 
Managing Director Robert Hurren said: “Becoming more environmentally aware means needing to know where our food comes from. Chefs need to know the origins of their ingredients while tuning into food miles and becoming conscious about the number of deliveries they require. To support this, we educate chefs on seasonality – knowing when fruit and vegetables are at their peak flavour and ripeness – and widely encourage them to reduce ongoing packaging waste.”

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He said it has put a lot of time and effort into understanding and reducing its own environmental footprint. To combat waste, the County Supplies team encourages kitchens to use recyclable brown bags and returnable crates, advises how best to decant fresh produce and recycle excess boxes and provides ways to only use plastic packaging where necessary. 

Robert said: “We also work with customers to reduce the number of deliveries, resulting in a positive impact on our emissions. In 2021 we added our first electric light vehicle to our fleet and, as the commercial van and lorry market transitions to electric, we hope to run a fully electric fleet by 2030.”
 
The sustainability of the fresh produce it supplies is paramount too. "Not all produce has to look perfect. We live in a world where everything is always available, with three million tonnes of fruit and veg wasted every year. This means farmers are left with surplus produce, no matter how good a grower they are. Whether it’s due to over-supply or failing to meet specifications, perfectly-tasty produce that is ready to eat simply goes to waste." 
 
“County Surplus is our way of supplying fresh sustainable produce daily to our customers. Working with a network of growers we supply the absolute best seasonal produce, helping to reduce waste.” 
 
The firm works with a network of international growers, but tries where possible to buy British. 

"We know we’re only as good as the produce we sell — that’s why we always aim to source the best local produce to help keep our food miles low," he said, adding: “Life is made from the people we encounter, and we are incredibly proud of our trusted network of growers, suppliers and customers.” 
 

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