Birmingham’s new integrated wholesale market, which is one of the largest in Europe, has been officially opened at a launch event on Friday 5 October.
The event was billed as a celebration of the market’s 850-year history, and saw traders joined in the new environment by a steel band, Chinese lion dance and television crew. Mark Tate, chairman of the Birmingham Wholesale Fresh Produce Association, told those at the event: “I’d like to thank all the traders who supported my decisions throughout the process, our belief has driven us to this magnificent building today. I have a request that goes out to all the people of Birmingham and the Midlands, we need your support, to keep buying our fruit and vegetables, and meat and fish from the wholesale market.”
Chris Taplee, of wholesaler Mack Birmingham, commented, “This place is magnificent, I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’m now I’m looking forward to the next 30. Trade has picked up, we’re getting people from Wolverhampton now; someone from Liverpool came the other day. It’s the shot in the arm we needed.”
The new location on Nobel Way in Witton is how to almost 90 traders, including those selling meat poultry and fish as well as fresh produce, based around a large central covered avenue, together with warehouses, a cafe and management offices.
Photo Credit: Birmingham Wholesale Market
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Family owned fresh produce wholesaler Tomson (Buxton) Ltd has been awarded a grant of £16,724 of Peak LEADER Rural Grant funding in order to expand one of its warehouses.
The firm was established 30 years ago when former PE teacher Deb Thompson and her husband opened a small grocery shop. Today the company employs 31 staff across three warehouses and buys food from growers across the UK, which is supplied to schools, business, hotels and restaurants in the Peak District and further afield.
Ms Thompson said, “We’ve wanted to extend one of our warehouses for a while but it’s a big project that would cost a lot of money so I’m really pleased we heard about these grants to help us. Within the extension is a second loading bay so we can send and receive deliveries at the same time and we have more space to move stock around. We’ve also been able to take on two new members of staff as a result and we’re looking to employ one more.”
Photo Credit: Tomson (Buxton) Ltd
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According to reports, some wholesalers have expressed concern about the recent spate of hot, dry weather on the availability of certain UK produce lines, including broccoli and some soft fruit.
Following temperatures of 31oC in Lincolnshire and 25oC in Cornwall, former Secretts Direct boss Vernon Mascarenhas of New Covent Garden’s First Choice Produce told the Fresh Produce Journal that “Broccoli will be hardest hit because generally you don’t irrigate broccoli. In this heat the broccoli plant will dehydrate and shut down.”
He added, “Strawberries are also going to be a problem. In this weather strawberry plants can just shut down and stop producing. “Everyone loves the hot weather but people should realise what it can do to our food chain,” he said. “There are going to be consequences.”
Photo Credit: Pixabay
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