Keeping it fresh for eight decades

13 Oct , 2015  

Twenty-fifteen marks the 80th anniversary of Glynns Fruit & Vegetables, Connacht’s premier supplier of fresh local produce into the catering industry. We dropped into the company’s Oranmore, County Galway base to take a closer look at the history and current well-being of this exceptional, third-generation family operation as well as exploring the wide range of products and services provided.

Glynns Fruit & Vegetables has been at the forefront of the fruit and vegetable industry in the west of Ireland for eight decades, having been established by George Glynn Snr. way back in 1935. During the ensuing 80 years, the business has grown organically on the strength of its high-quality, locally-sourced products.

Glynn’s fresh, nutritious and perfectly-presented produce (they are especially renowned for the quality of their peeled potatoes) has gained them regional – and national – acclaim. Striving relentlessly to provide the highest quality products to customers at competitive prices, the family business has over the years demonstrated an uncanny ability to adapt to an ever-changing and competitive marketplace.

They have forged strong relationships with local, professional fresh produce suppliers and work around the clock with these suppliers to constantly develop their fresh produce to the optimum levels of value, quality, appearance, taste and flavour. Glynns Fruit & Vegetables actively support local growers for produce in season, while relying on long-established international suppliers for more exotic produce.

Down through the decades, for example, they have established partnerships with leading fruit producers and distributors worldwide – from Europe to Suth America and New Zealand.

The wide and flexible product range includes – but is by no means limited to – fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh herbs, prepared potatoes and prepared vegetables (incorporating a host of specialities such as stir fries chunky vegetable mixes, lasagne mixes, roast vegetable mixes, stew mixes, rustic Mediterranean vegetables, salad mixes and chowder mixes).

In recent years, the company has built a solid reputation for supplying quality fresh berries, which arrive fresh on a daily basis and are maintained in mint condition from field to fork within a constant chilled supply chain climate.

The quality and freshness of Glynns’ produce is a direct consequence of the time and effort invested in seeking out the very best producers.

Recognising that many of their customers want to buy food grown or produced locally, a major emphasis is placed on sourcing fruit and vegetables in the local region if at all possible. As well as carrying the complete range of fruit and prepared vegetables (fresh and prepared), Glynns Fruit & Vegetables are unique in that they can also provide specific recipes for individual hotels and restaurants.

Food hygiene and Health and Safety are of primary importance to Glynns and they carry out all operations strictly adhering to HACCP guidelines.
Glynns Fruit & Vegetables operate their own temperature-controlled fleet, ensure that all fresh and prepared produce is delivered throughout County Galway – and beyond – at agreed times. Servicing a catchment area within a 100-mile radius of Oranmore, they offer a delivered, just-in-time service to customers, operating on lead times as short as two to three hours.

To ensure that customers are getting high-quality and inventive produce that they can rely on, Glynns Fruit & Vegetables have enlisted the services of former chef Ken Keane as sales and operations manager. The business is currently owned by George Glynn (grandson of the late founder George Glynn Snr.), who took over from his father Willie during the 1980s.

The vision of the current proprietor has seen the business progress to the next level over the past three decades. When George took over, he was one of the first in the country to process (peel, wash etc.) potatoes and vegetables and deliver them in a ready-to-eat condition.

Down through the years, Glynns have always strongly supported local growers and they enjoy long-running relationships with a number of local family businesses including Sean Mahony from Loughrea, who grows prime cabbages, turnips, cauliflowers and broccoli, and Mark and Anne Rabbitte in Corofin, who supply fresh scallions, herbs and lettuces. Meanwhile, all potato products are sourced from Fitzstephen Bros, who have 50 years’ experience of growing potatoes in Corofin.

“We process and deliver all fresh, local produce and we also have key contacts throughout Europe for exotic produce such as blackberries, blueberries, mangoes and avocados,” Ken notes. “We offer a full range of fruit and vegetables, with delivery six days a week to hotels and restaurants in the Connacht region.”

All produce is of optimum freshness when it arrives at the customer’s premises and, in turn, onto the diner’s plate! “Fruit and vegetables come in here every morning before 10am and are processed and delivered to the hotels / restaurants within 24 hours,” Ken adds. “All of our suppliers are located within a 20-mile radius and the produce comes straight out of the field into our factory, where it is processed and packed before being quickly delivered into kitchens ready to be cooked immediately.”

In total, Glynns Fruit & Vegetables supply in excess of 150 premises. The core business provides gainful employment to a full-time team of 20 as well as five more additional part-time employees during peak season. Indirectly, work is generated for at least the same numbers again.

Boasting 15 years’ experience as a chef, Ken Keane was brought on board to keep on top of new products and to meet the needs of discerning chefs – a profession he has personal insight into. “One of our strongest assets is that we can tailor-make produce such as stir-fries and chowders etc. and supply them to fit in perfectly with their recipes.”

The strong local nature of the business cannot be overstated. “We are genuinely local and we genuinely support local growers,” Ken stresses. “Without the local growers, you are just another fruit and veg company.

“Irish fruit and vegetables are the best you can get anywhere in the world but the fruit & veg industry in Ireland is under threat from the multiples. Everybody is a loser – growers are being pushed out of business and consumers are losing out big time nutritionally. As a nation, we need to adjust back to supporting local options as opposed to buying produce that comes from the other side of the world and which has no traceability.”

Looking to the future, Ken is confident that this proud, third-generation family business has much more to offer: “Our intention is to stick with the deep-rooted ethos of the company, which is to support local growers and get their excellent, fresh produce onto plates. Thankfully, we have benefited from a lot of customer loyalty over the years and this is greatly appreciated. We like to think our customers are staying with us because of the high quality of our produce and our service.

“From a personal point of view, it is refreshing to work for a company that is so highly regarded and my job is made a lot easier by the history of the business. George and his wife Mary are very highly respected for their hard work and loyalty to customers, and they have never seen anybody stuck.”
A combination of quality produce, excellent service and unwavering attention to customer care should see Glynns Fruit & Vegetables remain at the forefront of their chosen market for many more years, nay decades, to come.

Glynns Fruit & Vegetables,
County Galway.
Tel: 091 798102
Fax: 091 798188
Email: [email protected]

Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 3 No 3, April 2015

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