20 May 2019
It's British Tomato Fortnight and, as a food redistribution charity, we work with suppliers, distributors and growers of tomatoes from all across the country. Eric Wall is one of FareShare Sussex’s longstanding food partners — supplying FareShare Sussex with a pallet of fresh local tomatoes every week.
“We plant in good faith that whatever is needed by supermarkets will match our production and it doesn’t always happen. We’ve been lucky with the autumn weather, meaning we had excess product that the supermarkets don’t need, so we had an opportunity to help the FareShare network.”
Richard, the Managing Director of Eric Wall
One of the UK’s biggest tomato producers, they recently found themselves with a large of number of tomatoes that would have gone to waste, but, as they were still perfectly good to eat, they redistributed them to FareShare.
“We plant in good faith that whatever is needed by supermarkets will match our production and it doesn’t always happen,” says Richard, the Managing Director of Eric Wall. “We’ve been lucky with the autumn weather, meaning we had excess product that the supermarkets don’t need, so we had an opportunity to help the FareShare network.”
Those tomatoes were redistributed across to charities and community groups across the UK through FareShare’s 21 regional centres, including older people’s lunch clubs, homeless hostels and domestic violence refuges.
“For any good-to-eat surplus products to be able to be used, especially in cooking, is good. We’re always encouraging people to use fresh and nutritious ingredients,” adds Richard. “Some people can’t afford to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, so this was a good opportunity for us to make our products available to those who wouldn’t necessarily be able to buy them.”
Richard believes redistribution should be a bigger priority for the food industry. “Throughout my career I’ve seen food dumped for multiple reasons, food that’s gone straight into skips. I’d seen it in the supply chain but felt that I couldn’t do much about it,” he says.
“Everyone needs to be very mindful of food waste and what’s going into the bin or landfill, especially considering how vulnerable people are being affected by food poverty,” adds Richard. “There will always be surplus, and that food can, and should, be used to support people in your local community.”
British Tomato Fortnight may only be two weeks, but we always need more fresh food to distribute to frontline charities.
Do you know a business that can help provide food for FareShare? Find out more about working with FareShare here.