Asda will be bringing the fresh feel of summer to their Northern Ireland customers with new deals with long standing suppliers Gilfresh Produce, who will supply ‘Tenderheart’ cabbage and new season local leeks to the retailer and Derrylard Nurseries, who will be supplying celery, 2 varieties of lettuce and colourful ‘stock’ flowers.
The Asda Buying Team has also signed a contract with Armagh Cider Company for the supply both of their famous cider varieties (Maddens Mellow and Carsons Crisp) and deliciously-spiced mulled cider for later in the year.
We are delighted to have been awarded the Growing With Tesco Award for Q1 of 2014 from the Tesco NI team. The Growing With Tesco Award, which will be presented in each quarter of the year, recognises outstanding work with Northern Ireland’s largest retailer. Gilfresh has been recognised for the excellent range of products it supplies, both under the Gilfresh brand and Tesco own-label, and its first class service. Gilfresh look forward to continuing to develop the great working relationship with Tesco.
There was a good turnout of competitors and spectators for the 99th annual ploughing match at Mullahead on Saturday 22nd February 2014. Gilfresh Produce were delighted to display their range of Core and Prepared Vegetables currently supplied to Tesco stores across Northern Ireland. We hope everyone that attended had a great day!
Thomas Gilpin of Gilfresh Produce in Co Armagh is sitting pretty in a rainbow of Northern Ireland-grown coloured vegetables, which hit Tesco stores for a limited period this weekend. The naturally-coloured rainbow vegetables are popular in the US and Asia, and the weekend marks their first foray into Tesco stores in Northern lreland.
Asda NI has reinforced its continuing commitment to Northern Ireland’s agri-food sector with the announcement of a substantial £500,000 contract with Gilfresh.Gilfresh, currently supply a wide range of fresh whole vegetables to Asda’s NI stores, including carrots, cabbages and leeks. The new contract will see an additional 9 lines of prepared vegetables, from carrot batons to diced vegetable medley, available in all 16 Asda stores throughout Northern Ireland from July this year. From the new range, Asda expect to sell a substantial 12 tonnes of carrot batons per year which is the equivalent to the weight of four large elephants!
Last year, Gilfresh participated in Asda NI’s ‘Supplier Development Academy’ (SDA), the first retail-led initiative of its type, jointly funded by Asda and Invest NI with the aim of achieving growth and maximising business potential. As one of eleven local companies which took part, Gilfresh has used this experience to help grow its business and further strengthen its relationship with Asda.
William Gilpin from Gilfresh Produce said: “We enjoy a great relationship with Asda and the Supplier Development Academy has been an excellent tool to help us grow our business. We are continuously looking for ways to improve our offering and deliver the best and most convenient products for our customers. This improved offering to customers has also been made possible by our new high care food preparation facility, part-funded by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development which has helped us to meet our customer demand.”
David Quigg, local buyer for Asda NI, commented, “At Asda, we are totally committed to supporting the NI food sector. We continue to work closely with local companies such as Gilfresh to support Northern Ireland businesses with initiatives such as our Supplier Development Academy and regular ‘Meet the Buyer’ events. We are always eager to expand our local vegetable sourcing and are delighted that such a significant contract will benefit the local economy and result in the shortest possible journey from field to fork for our customers’ food.”
The new prepared range from Gilfresh will be available in all 16 Asda stores throughout Northern Ireland from 21st July.
It’s a little known fact but the unique sheltered fields of County Armagh give Northern Ireland vegetable growers a distinct advantage over their UK rivals – and mean that local shoppers here are first in line for the freshest new season produce.
Thanks to the sheltered growing conditions and ideal weather in recent weeks, Tesco stores in Northern Ireland are among the first in the UK to stock new season local leeks and a wide range of new season cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower and swedes from Loughgall-based Gilfresh. Gilfresh supplies over 350,000 cases of fresh produce to Tesco NI each year. The third-generation Co Armagh family business and its network of local vegetable growers have been delivering fresh produce for over 50 years.
This first-to-market new season crop is welcome news to Gilfresh which has just come through one of the most challenging times in recent years due to the extremely wet weather conditions. However thanks to the dedication, hard work and expertise of the company and its grower base, Tesco customers have been continuously supplied with fresh vegetables.
William Gilpin, Owner and General Manager of Gilfresh Produce said: “We’ve had growers out in the field checking the crop for the last few weeks, waiting for the optimum time to harvest and the results have been fantastic. We enjoy a great relationship with Tesco, and are now supplying 25 vegetable lines to the business, including carrots, cabbages and salad crops.”
Cliff Kells, Tesco Northern Ireland Commercial Manager, said: “We continue to work closely with growers in Northern Ireland to offer our customers the best of fresh locally sourced produce as early as possible.”
The first of the new season crop is now on sale in Tesco stores throughout Northern Ireland.
Thomas Gilpin, Owner of Gilfresh Produce, has been awarded an MBE for his services to agriculture in Northern Ireland.
Thomas was very honoured but surprised to receive the award and stressed the honour was not just for him. “It’s for my family, the staff and workers at Gilfresh, and vegetable growers across Northern Ireland,” he said.
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