First Choice, owned by Daniel McCullough, is an excellent fresh produce supplier based in the Fruit & Vegetable Market at New Covent Garden Market in south-west London.
Daniel established First Choice in 2001, as demand for seasonal British produce increased within the M25 circle. His journey into fruit and veg started out by supplying businesses directly from the back of his van, until demand became so great that he needed to set up a business, which now employs 110 staff.
Close links have been established with UK farms, with consideration to mileage and journey times to and from the farms, to ensure we chefs get the freshest possible produce in the shortest possible time from farm to fork, without involving third party wholesalers.
Just some examples of the foods produced are micro cress, edible flowers and baby vegetables from Norfolk; tomatoes from West Sussex; soft fruits from Essex and Kent; heritage potatoes from Northumberland; brassicas and leaf vegetables from Kent and Cambridgeshire.
Quality is a key consideration, with First Choice holding British Retail Confederation accreditation. The business is also Red Tractor certified.
What grabbed my attention, compared with other fruit and veg suppliers, was the lengths First Choice go to, in order to source fresh British produce throughout the seasons. I also liked their direct links with farmers and the time and effort spent to produce weekly updates on new products, what’s coming into season, what’s good, what’s excellent, and what’s coming to an end.
They also offer open days where we can meet and discuss requirements, see what’s new with farm suppliers, and often they will bring new varieties, that can be added to future dishes on the Club’s menus.
Based in New Covent Garden Market since 2001, First Choice now occupies one of the most modern and state-of-the-art catering facilities in the heart of London's larder, the company says. “Ensuring that each and every order is correct has become our daily mission and is the guiding principal instilled in all of our staff. We understand that we will only ever be as good as our last order.”
At the Club we are arranging farm visits so my team members can see for themselves what great produce we produce in this country, and hopefully encourage more ideas into the dishes we create at the Club.
We try to mention as many of our suppliers as possible on the Provenance page of our Restaurant menu.
Find out more about First Choice Produce at www.firstchoice-produce.com