Harvest Fine Foods are proud to work with some of the finest local growers and producers, from small specialists to award winning farms and market gardeners. They stock a whole range of fresh and ambient products from Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and the Isle of Wight.
The Covid-19 Pandemic meant that they hadn’t been able to meet with their local suppliers for the past couple of years. They have recently embarked on a mission to get out there in the field and continue building relationships with their local farmers, writes Steve Whitwam, Commercial Director, Harvest Fine Foods.
Recently they have visited D&J Hayward in Landford, Wiltshire, observing the field to fork process from produce growing in the fields, to seeing the finished produce being harvested and then collected by themselves whilst their drivers are on their existing routes (this helps to continue to reduce their carbon footprint by reducing vehicles on the roads and saving suppliers sending out their own vehicles). The final step of the process is picking the produce for their customer orders – this truly is a field to fork process! They were delighted to be able to be there for each stage and create a video capturing these steps.
D & J Hayward Growers is a family run farm business which has been running in Landford for three generations so far. They grow grade one leafy salad and vegetable crops and supply to many of the wholesale markets across the country, together with the catering trade, vegetable brokers and local retail outlets. Their aim is to produce a grade one product, harvested, packed and dispatched within 12 hours. They pride themselves on producing quality crops, using a balance of traditional farming techniques and modern technology, with the minimum amount of chemical intervention, whilst meeting the ever changing needs of their consumers.
Harvest and the Environment
Harvest’s commitment to the Environment includes sourcing products from local suppliers when and where we can. We currently have around 40 local suppliers from Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and West Sussex. Whenever possible we will collect from our local suppliers using our own vehicles as they return from their customer deliveries. In this way we lessen the impact of traffic in the local area and reduce the number of empty vehicles on the road.
Harvest’s waste streams are segregated and recycled wherever possible. Current segregated waste streams are:
• Cardboard – all currently recycled
• Paper – all currently recycled
• Shrink wrap – All currently recycled
• Fresh produce waste – given to local farmers to supplement animal feed
• Waste sugar – donated to local beekeepers
• Our general waste is currently sifted for further recycling, and any non- recyclable waste will be sent to an energy recovery facility
One of Harvest’s key objectives for 2021 was to become zero to landfill which we are proud to report that we have now completed in December 2021.
Our 56,000 square foot depot utilises LED lighting and state-of-the-art refrigeration to reduce our electricity consumption.
Harvest utilises route management software to ensure our delivery vehicles follow the most fuel-efficient route possible and we also train our drivers in safe and fuel-efficient driving. Our Transport Management team will monitor the drivers Kilometre per litre (KPL) performance working to reduce the overall fuel consumption on an ongoing basis.
Being part of the Country Range Buying Group, Harvest have also been successful in removing 100% of all black non-recyclable plastic from our own label range. We will continue to work with our partners to develop innovative recyclable packaging that maintains the integrity of our products in the supply chain, in order that they arrive at our customers’ premises in the same condition and with no reduction in shelf–life. Palm Oil that is used in any Country Range Brand products is accredited to the RSPO (Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil). We are actively working with our suppliers to remove Palm Oil and move to other edible oils. From July 2021 all Country Range Brand Frozen Potato products will be pre-fried in Sunflower Oil rather than Palm Oil.
Harvest and our responsibility to our industry
The commitment Harvest has to our social responsibility does not just include our environment and our community. Harvest believes in supporting the industry we serve and work with several local catering colleges to support budding young chefs with their training. A day “in-trade” at Harvest’s depot is incorporated into the syllabus of many of the catering courses with our local colleges to help students understand the supply chain.
Over the coming months Harvest aim to visit many more of their local suppliers and farms across the region.