The Community Food Research team visited Tamar Fresh fruit and vegetable wholesaler in Saltash. Dave Barrett, the director and founder, talked about how the business grew from a small family enterprise to become a vital part of the food supply chain in Devon and Cornwall; championing local growers and produce and supplying a range of wholesale and retail customers, including schools, restaurants and individuals.
Tamar Fresh have a strong commitment to supporting their local area, which has even included buying the local post office to stop it from closing. They also work with public sector organisations, such as local authorities and schools, to work out how they can save them money whilst still providing high quality food for the public (in this they could be seen as an anchor institution).
We learned about what they are doing to reduce their environmental footprint, for example; processing food not sufficiently fresh enough to survive transport through the food chain to be frozen, ready to be added to soups or other pre-prepared goods; looking at recycled or bio-based plastics – currently the cost of these can be a barrier. Providing products at an acceptable price while maintaining social and environmental value is an ongoing challenge and goal.
The visit provided insight and deeper understanding of the complex and multiple factors affecting the fresh food supply chain, really helping to place our local research and findings in a wider context. Thank you to Dave Barrett and team for taking the time to explain your work in such detail and for your hospitality!
photo credits Star Rosemary Drew and Laura Dunn