Ever wonder how retailers have such fresh fruit and vegetables in their stores? Well wonder no longer as this article sets out to explain the tasks involved in getting these items from their source and onto the shelves.
Time is of the essence in this industry and experience counts for a lot too and that is why Dublin based C McGee & Sons Ltd are at the forefront of their field of expertise.
With almost 50 years’ experience in supplying a wide range of fruit, vegetables and potatoes to a large customer base, C McGee and Sons ensure that they have stuck to their motto of ‘quality comes first, no matter the circumstances.’
Christopher McGee saw a niche in the market where he supplied supermarkets and other retailers with their fruit and veg instead of them having to go to the markets to buy them as was the case in those days.
Christopher received a positive response when he approached businesses about supplying this service and from there the company has grown into what it is today.
These days, Christopher’s three sons Paul, John and Fergie oversee the day to day running of the business and for this month’s edition of Irish Tractor & Agri, we speak to Fergie and he gives us an insight into what it takes to run this specialised service on a daily basis.
Located in a prime location in Rush, Co Dublin, in the heartland of the fruit and veg growing area in the capital, the area has been renowned for generations for producing quality produce, mainly attributed to by the fertile soil and 70% of all vegetables are produced in the area. C McGee & Sons Ltd has seen its customer base grow considerably over the years and their clients come from a wide sector including the retail and hospitality industries.
“We supply a full range of quality fresh produce all year round,” said Fergie. “The main core of the business would be local growers and from our location here in Rush, we have built up a great business relationship with them over the years.”
Obviously Ireland’s climate doesn’t allow for certain fruits and veg to be grown all year round, but that doesn’t stop C McGee & Sons Ltd from continuing to provide their customers with top quality fresh produce.
“During the winter period in particular, we would source produce in Europe where we buy from top growers in the U.K, France, Spain, Holland and Italy. The produce is shipped over here where we distribute to our customers.”
Up to 20 people are employed by this family run business, many of who have been there years now and all are highly trained in their areas of expertise.
“There is a very hard working and loyal staff here. Some of them would be with us for up to 25 years. They are highly efficient in what they do and they range from drivers to packers and from quality controllers to office staff.”
Given the short life expectancy of fruit and vegetables, time constraints are a formidable problem that must be dealt with on a daily basis.
“We are always working against the clock, but we have a system in place that we adhere too and we try to make everything run as smoothly as possible.
“The simple fact is that if our customers don’t get their produce on time or in an unfit state, then they will take their business elsewhere, so it is up to us to ensure that they always receive quality produce on time.”
When dealing with fresh produce, there are many standards to be achieved and maintained. C McGee & Sons Ltd have obtained the necessary documentation to be allowed carried out their duties as the company carries the BRC Global Standard For Food Safety – Grade A: This Standard is continually assessed and revised and requires execution of HACCP; an efficient quality management system; and the control of environment standards, products, processes and personnel. They are also Bord Bia Approved.
“All the produce sourced in Ireland here is Bord Bia approved, while anything bought in Europe has its own traceability from source.”
Fergie admits that it is essential to maintain the high standards that they have set for themselves and which their customers have become accustomed too.
“Our customers expect quality produce and it is up to us to deliver that to them. We are continually looking at ways to improve our business and that is something that we have always looked to do. Our motto is ‘small enough to care, big enough to get the job done’. We are very proud of what we do and also very passionate about how we get the job done. Our main priority is ensure the satisfaction of our customers and to forge long term partnerships.”
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our many customers for their loyal support over the years and look forward to working for them for many years to come.”
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 2 No 6, November 2014