To celebrate British Food Fortnight, we spoke to Dan McCollough, MD of First Choice Produce, followed by visiting a harvest time display created by Ron Maxfield, Director of Sales and Specialty Buying.
First Choice Produce are purveyors of fresh produce and specialty fine foods.
They supply both restaurants and offer home delivery, nationally. Browse their website to order.
(Enter our competition! A chance for one deserving person to win a First Choice Food Box, brimming with award-winning fruit, vegetables and fine foods!)
(Image: Ron Maxfield and his Harvest Time display at First Choice Produce).
Thanks for speaking with us Dan. Why should the food service industry and the public buy British?
“People should buy British because it supports our home economy. We then rely less on imports, receive much better, sustainable products that are less likely to distance to travel.
Fresh fruit and vegetables start losing nutrients and vitamins as soon as they are picked, so the longer the time they take to get to our market, the less health benefits they have.”
What types of British produce are popular over harvest time? What's incredible right now?
“Right now, squashes are going strong, berries are still good but at the end of their season, plums are very nice, Savoy cabbages and purple broccoli.”
(Image: variety of British fresh produce available at First Choice Produce).
Tell us a great fact about your business.
“This business was started by me, one van and a dream many years ago!
Also, the pandemic has created an opportunity for us to support the local artisan food community to provide access for them to the public they would never have been able to have before.
Our website is filled with these beautiful products for people, nationwide, to enjoy through our home delivery service.
These products are also used and loved by our restaurant and hotel clients.”
(Image: Wigmore – Village Maid Cheese).
What types of British produce do you use in your home delivery boxes?
“In our home delivery boxes we have everything. A foodie heaven treasure trove!
Charcuterie, cheese, fruit and vegetables, truffle products, honeys, sauces, jams, eggs – all sorts of fantastic kitchen cupboard fine foods."
(Image: selection of goodies available for home delivery).
In regard to British produce, can you give an example of how your company is sustainable?
We buy products with the least amount of packaging, send out our products loose as much as we can and reuse our home delivery boxes where possible.”
Also doing what we do naturally, buying British!”
(Image: F.G. Rook & Son Village Farm beetroots).
Can you give us information about a seasonal fruit or vegetable grower, or artisan food producer?
“I am going to hand-over to Ron Maxfield, Director of Sales and Specialty Buying for this as he has created a harvest time display to celebrate British Food Fortnight!”
(Image: Ron Maxfield in front of his British Harvest Time display).
“Thanks Dan, I want to celebrate all of them! I am passionate about British fresh produce supporting the artisanal food community.
Throughout my career as a head chef in Michelin restaurants, at that level, it was a combination of working with a disciplined, creative teams and using British produce.
I have taken all that knowledge from professional kitchens and applied it to sourcing and buying First Choice Produce's fresh and artisan food.
This same produce goes to both restaurants and out for our home delivery services.
(Image: British Harvest Time display in full glory).
I am the luckiest buyer in the world.
I get to buy from New Covent Garden Market’s wholesalers, growers and a specialty foods community that I have built up relationships with over years. The people behind these businesses are experts and bring our towns and countryside to life!
I wish I could fit all our products onto this British Harvest Time display, but here is small selection of what First Choice Produce offers:
(Image: Specialty Foods available at First Choice Produce).
Foraged Scottish Ceps; K.S. Coles Ltd swedes; F.G. Rook & Son Village Farm beetroots, Molyneux Kale Company Queen and variegated kale, honeygold marrows, heritage Morghew Park Estate potatoes and Nutbourne heritage tomatoes; Village Maid, Whitelake, Westcombe and Marlow cheese producers; Bungay Butter, Single Variety Co , The Artisan Kitchen Jams; Yare Valley Oils, Halenmon Oak Smoked Water and Salts, H. Forman & Son smoked salmon; Insane Grain and Fiddlers Crisps, Craggs & Co, Peter’s Yard crisp breads, Fruits of the Forage cordials; Sublime flavoured butters, Cacklebean and Watercress Lane eggs, Truffle Hunter truffles and treats, Marsh Pig Charcuterie, Southwest Garlic Farm garlics and relish…and so much more.