Worcester Produce

‘Grow, Harvest, Deliver’ – the essential mantra of Worcester Produce; a supplier that grows its own produce, that works with the seasons, and that prides itself on working locally. As we tour their business, wandering up and down multicoloured rows of fresh produce, Sales Account Manager, Mat Tilley tells us what ‘good quality’ means to him: “Fresh, in season, local. You eat with your eyes first; you don’t have to taste something to tell it’s good. Once you can see the colour’s right, you can just tell.”

The passion for fresh produce is evident at Worcester Produce and Mat speaks as supplier and chef. He tells us, “We’re very fortunate around the Vale of Evesham; the fertile soils, the land that has been farmed for a lot of years. To be able to get that as a route to market for chefs to use in kitchens is massively key for what we do and the passion we put forward.”

Having their own farmland is an integral part of the process, as Mat explains: “Using the best of the land that you’ve got around you, some of it should definitely be kept for product and produce and there’s a lot more of a focus on local and getting it in every school, restaurant, pub, bar, and hotel. I think if it was stopped growing locally, there’d be uproar! We also partner with other local growers; when things are in season, we get as local as possible. At the end of the day, you can’t be classified as a local supplier if you’re getting stuff that’s 400 miles away.”

The relationships they cultivate with other producers are a key part of the mechanism and Mat tells us, “The relationships we have there, they have the same understanding as we do, that we have the provenance. At the end of the day, we wouldn’t want to work with someone that didn’t care about their product. As soon as someone starts not caring about what they’re doing or what they’re supplying, there’s no real place here for them.”

The focus on seasonal growing is refreshing to see and Worcester Produce go as far as to have created a seasonal calendar to be used by customers as a guide. Mat explains, “We’ve picked the best products that are coming into season in that given month, or that given timeframe. We’ve also got a full year-round growing chart that shows when the produce is from our farm, when it’s local, when it’s from the UK and when it’s imports, so you can use that as a good base when writing menus or looking at your offering to make sure that you’re using the best of UK produce as and when it’s in season.”

So, why is it so important? For Mat, “I was brought up in the countryside. For me, eating what’s on the land, what tastes good and eating things when they should be eaten is key; provenance is key.”