Welcome to our news and events page
Hear about our latest news stories and activities each month.
The drip feed cash flow – By Alan Meldrum, Finance Director, Harvest Fine Foods
It is a challenging time for most finance professionals, many businesses are making losses and the paraphrased old adage of “turnover is vanity, cash is king” becomes even more true.
Cash flow forecasting becomes an impossible exercise with so many unknowns and so many of the things we know changing on a daily and sometimes hourly basis!
The tendency is to batten down the hatches, stop all outgoing payments and protect cash but is this the right thing to do.
For Harvest we completely reengineered our business in the space of 48 hours going from a food service business to the hospitality sector on Wednesday, to a Home Delivery Service on a Friday.
While this has brought revenue into the business, these revenues are significantly reduced from the levels seen pre Coronavirus and being a new market born of difficult times it is difficult to predict whether or how much this market will grow.
A new market also means a new demand and while some food service products lines are still moving, 16kg bags of flour are showing we are still a nation of bakers, many food service product lines just aren’t moving at all.
While sales have significantly declined our supply chain are still requiring payments due for both moving and non-moving lines and we are also having to invest in other stock to meet the demands from home delivery customers for products we don’t ordinarily stock.
During all of this our suppliers are being put under pressure by their credit insurers to maintain normal payment terms and these credit insurers are not showing any compassion or understanding despite everything that is going on.
As a result our suppliers are unable to extend their credit terms, and in some cases have even reduced them, meaning we are having to continue to make payments to them in order to secure much needed deliveries to maintain continuity of supply to our hospital, care home schools and home delivery customers for whom Harvest has become a key service in these difficult times.
So what is the answer?
For us it is a drip feed cash flow, maintaining payments to as many suppliers as we can but drip feeding those payments. If we have 5 invoices outstanding then clearing one, two or three to try to maintain a positive cash movement to our suppliers while protecting cash balances, but above all talking to the supplier and explaining what is going on.
Our hope is that in talking to suppliers we can assure them that we have every intention of clearing our existing debt, we have a positive, if reduced revenue stream which does need to be supplied and giving them the comfort that we will get through this, together.
What we do with our suppliers we also seek to do with our customers, but from the other side of the table. We want to talk to our customers find out how they are coping and what approaches they have taken to generate alternative revenue streams.
While we have been busy focusing on the home delivery market, we have tried not to ignore our existing customer base.
Many hospitality businesses have started take away or delivery services, some have become pop up shops supplying food essentials to remote or isolated communities and where we can we are supporting these endeavours through cash on delivery and even some short term credit facilities despite existing debtor balances.
We are asking our customers to support us the same way we are trying to support our suppliers, drip feed cash flow provides cash for us to maintain supply lines and support our vulnerable home delivery, hospital and care home customers.
Recognising that many of our existing customers have no revenue being generated at the moment, it is impossible to enforce any form of “normal” credit control but Government funded support is coming through and we just ask that everyone allocates even a small amount of this support to some of those outstanding invoices with your own suppliers, not just Harvest.
If we all avoid completely turning off the tap and maintaining a drip feed cash flow then we can keep the economy ticking over, which will be key as economies are a bit like engines, if you turn them off for any period of time then they cease up and need a lot to get going again, but if you can keep them ticking over then when you do put your foot on the accelerator they are ready to roar into life again.
*Home Delivery Update*
We would like to thank everyone for their brilliant support of the last 2 weeks whilst we have rolled out this service to our local community. We have had a great response and we are very grateful.
A few updates, our registration system is now automated. Once you fill in our form you will receive your login details with in 15 minutes, you can then login and begin shopping. Order places by 12pm will be delivered the next day. Deliveries are made Monday-Saturday and the minimum order is £50.
Blue Light Workers receive a 10% discount and a minimum order of £20. All you need to do is send a photo of copy of your Blue Light ID to email@example.com to qualify.
To place an order over the phone please call 01202 470 444 between the hours of 8am and 4pn. If you would like to ring to make payment once you have placed your order you can do so on the same number and then select option 3, then option 2 (between the hours of 9am and 4pm).
Available now – home delivery service.
To view our corona virus statement please visit the link below.
You can now see this month’s availability list! This is an insight into where our fresh produce is coming from, the quality and any issues in supply.
Each month we will be sending out a ‘Vegwatch’ special to our customers via email. This will also be on our website – on our News and Information page. You can see February’s here.
This year Harvest are proud sponsors of the SO Stars Awards! These awards were launched to honour and bring public recognition for varied achievements and positive contributions from those professionals working the hospitality, tourism and retail sectors.
As sponsors of the Dining Experience Award, we aim to seek understanding of the shortlisted establishments with a unique twist to their food offering and overall experience. We have heard from some great places with an exclusive concept throughout out judging process.
We can’t wait to see who will win our category at the finals on the 19th March!
We are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for finalists at the Destination Awards in Bournemouth! We have been shortlisted for the Industry Support Award – This award is for any supplier of tourism businesses which can show significant support to the local visitor economy in the service and/or products they provide.
We are very excited to attend the finals on the 19th March at the BIC. We are hoping to be able to update you with good news after the event!
We would also like to congratulate many of our customers who have also been shortlisted for various awards, good luck to everyone on the night!
Please find the latest Brexit statement here.
Happy New Year to all of our customers and suppliers from everyone at Harvest! The Harvest team are excited for what 2020 will bring and can’t wait for another great year trading with all of our brilliant customers.
We have lots of exciting plans and developments – including expanding out onto the Isle of Wight! Our first delivery will be un the second week of January and we are eagerly anticipating more orders coming in over the coming months. We have a dedicated Business Development Manager based on the island who will be able to help with anything you may need. For more information call our team on 01202 470 444.
Please see the link below for this year’s Christmas Opening Hours.
The team took part in some Pumpkin Carving fun this Halloween, with a pumpkin carving competition! We have some hidden talents among the team, they looked amazing! Becca, Linda and Diane were the top 3 prize winners, with their carvings.
There are still pumpkins in stock at Harvest if you wanted to continue this spooky season into November!
A few lucky Harvest customers and members of the Harvest team had the chance to attend the Saints Foundation’s – Matt Le Tissier’s Big Saints Quiz on Wednesday 9th October!
As sponsors of the Saints Foundation, Harvest are aiming to work with them to raise money and awareness for the great things that the foundation do in Southampton.
The two Harvest teams got to meet Matt Le Tissier himself and have pictures taken!
The quiz – which focussed on Saints trivia throughout the years – was a challenging quiz, which unfortunately Harvest didn’t place in the top 5!
We are delighted to be a part of the foundation, which supports 12,000 young people and adults each year. The money raised goes to great causes, with year on year investing reaching £1,600,000 in charitable activities.
Thank you to the Saints Foundation for letting us be a part of the evening and we are looking forward to the next event!
The Harvest team and customers started off the month with an insightful lesson into Mushroom Foraging with New Forest Mushrooms! This was a great day, which also included getting to taste the mushrooms afterwards!
Richard, from New Forest Mushroom Company, kindly came in to chat to the group of staff and customers about mushrooms, their ideal growing conditions, UK varieties available and where you can find them.
The group then went out into the forest with Richard to find some mushrooms. There were many about at this time of year with the damp conditions and we were lucky with a break in the rain with a glorious, Autumnal day. Some of the mushrooms we found we perfectly fine to consume, however some we found can be harmful and even fatal if consumed! So always be careful if you are out foraging this season!
At Harvest we stock New Forest Mushrooms – get in touch with your rep for more information or call 01202 470 444
This month’s winner of #MakeItPlateItShareIt is David Beedle of Baba Ganoush! David won his £20 Love2Shop voucher for this brilliant roast dinner! October’s theme is Autumnal dishes, making the most of autmunal colours and flavours, for example, Squash, Pumpkin and Mushrooms, to name a few.
The Harvest team had a great Macmillan Coffee Morning on Friday 27th!
The team’s efforts to bake were great and we had lots of cake and sweet treats to share. In total we raised £135.86 for Macmillan Cancer Support!
Thank you to HB Ingredients and SOSA Ingredients for a great demonstration last week at the Harvest kitchen.
Our customers and sales team had a great chance to see the SOSA products being used and how they can create great tasting dishes! SOSA are one of the leading manufacturers for Gastronomy in the world! You can see more information here. Or call our team on 01202 470 444. Alternatively existing customers can speak to their reps.
Harvest Fine Foods are proud to have sponsored the annual Rotary Dorset Bike Ride, held by Rotary of Westbourne. The ride featured a range of distances between 10 and 108 miles, which took place on the 8th September 2019.
Total amounts raised after this event, for Cancer Research UK, should reach £250,000!
Harvest Fine Foods are extremely proud to have sponsored the event with our logo on the cycling tops and on way markers along the route.
We also provided free food for the riders on the day, once they completed their cycle, ensuring they didn’t go hungry!
We are proud to be supporting the Rotary of Westbourne for many years now and hope that this continued success will last for many years to come!
To view images from the day, follow the link here.
To view our Brexit statement, in preparation for October 31st, please click here.
This month’s #MakeItPlateItShareIt winner was Adam from Southsea Beach Café with his Crab Salad Sandwich toasted Sourdough, topped with brown crab meat, pickled radish, fresh dressed crab meat, pickled radish, fresh cucumber ribbons and spring onion and chilli! Adam won £20 a Love2Shop voucher for his beautiful dish!
Talented young chefs from across Hampshire, Dorset & the Channel Islands impressed judges with their culinary skills and flair at a competition held at Havant & South Downs College.
The Rotary Club of Gosport has organised the District heats of the Rotary Young Chef competition for the last three years as part of a prestigious national event.
Twelve students took part in the challenge which was to cook a three-course meal for two on a budget of £20 against the clock.
Mayor of Havant, Councillor Peter Wade, supported the competition by attending and presenting the prizes of chef’s aprons and cookbooks which were provided by Totton-based food service company, Harvest Fine Foods.
First Place was awarded to Izabella Darmanin from Havant and South Downs College whose menu included: Starter – Mackerel pâté with fennel and cucumber; Main – Cod loin with fried quails egg served on a bed of crushed potatoes and chive white wine butter sauce; Dessert – White chocolate cheesecake with orange and passionfruit.
Harvest Fine Food’s Senior Category Manager, Phil Clark, explained why competitions like this are important: “At Harvest, we are committed to supporting the Rotary Club of Great Britain in this excellent initiative to develop young talent in our region. It is a fantastic opportunity for budding young chefs to experience the pressure of a professional kitchen and show how creative they can be. Congratulations to everyone who took part – the food was superb.”
The winners will now go to Exeter College at the end of March for the Regional competition where they will compete against students from the West of England. The winner from this group will then go on to the National Final in Leeds on 27thApril.
L-R Back row: Oliver Clift of Emsworth Sailing Club; Clive Wright of Lysses House Hotel, Fareham; Phil Clark, Senior Category Manager, Harvest Fine Foods
Front row: Astrid Davis, Winner Isabella Darmanin, Savannah Nash
Here is his gorgeous dish of Venison loin, trio of beets, caramelised shallots, dauphinoise potatoes, venison jus, romanesco and heritage carrots.
Thank you to everyone who entered – we were overwhelmed by the beauty of all the dishes that were created. It was a very tough decision this month!
His entry for the Farmhouse Hearty Breakfast theme was this amazing smoked haddock salad, poached egg, sauteed new potatoes and wholegrain mustard vinaigrette.
We love learning more about our customers and were very happy when Chef Michele Mirabile of The Master Builder’s in Bucklers Hard very kindly agreed to tell us about more about himself and his work.
Chef Michele Mirabile receiving his prize for winning the December #MakeItPlateItShareIt competition from his Harvest Business Development Manager, Darren Hughes.
Why did you become a chef?
It is the most exciting and interesting job. It’s about feelings. You put your heart and soul into it. It’s like being an artist.
Have you had any formal culinary training?
I spent 5 years at catering college in Italy. My main education came from my grandma (Nonna Loretta), who was extremely strict, passionate and a perfectionist.She was practising slow cooked food processes years before kitchens started using the same practices.
What helps you unleash your creativity in the kitchen?
The thought of always trying to outdo myself. I WANT TO BE BETTER TODAY THEN I WAS YESTERDAY!
Most of my creativity and ideas come when I put my children (Elizabeth and Frank) to bed. It’s peaceful and quiet and it’s the most important time because that’s when the ideas come.
How do you make your magic work in the kitchen?
It’s important to have a good team working with you. THE TEAM IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT FOR ACHIEVING SUCCESS.
It’s like a family. You need communication and respect. Treat people as you would like to be treated. When everyone respects each other like human beings, that’s what works best. That’s how I think WE make the magic work in the kitchen.
I like my guys to think of us like the Spartans in 300. *chef laughs*
How important is gaining a Michelin Star Rating to you?
It is an important achievement, however I feel it is more important for me to have a fully booked restaurant. Gaining a Michelin star gives you the input to focus more and more. The pressure is high and the expectation that comes with it is high.
How important are serving plates to the dining experience and how involved are you with choosing / designing them?
It is important. The excitement can be limited though because as chefs we get bored. The plate enhances the beauty of the food, but not the quality. The quality comes from the food/produce and the provenance. I choose the equipment in the kitchen and we are currently choosing the new plates as we speak.
What do you predict will be the big food trends for the next 12 months?
Vegetarian and vegan. Healthy food is EN VOGUE. With seasonal veg, this trend can only get bigger and bigger.
What is your favourite ingredient and why?
Beetroot. The sweetness, texture and variety. You can do a lot with it. It’s a must have in my kitchen along with scallops and peas.
What are your 3 kitchen secrets?
Calmness, teamwork and selecting the best suppliers.
With calmness and teamwork, you create the job.
With the best suppliers and the 2 traits I said earlier, you can create something special!!
Common Quotes from Chef
“THE CHEF DOES NOT NEED TO SHOUT AND SCREAM.”
“HAVING THE POWER IS NOTHING WITHOUT CONTROL
Click here for more information about The Master Builder’s at Bucklers Hard.
City College Awards Evening
On Wednesday 7th November, a team from Harvest Fine Foods attended the 2018 City College Awards in Southampton and we were delighted to win the Employer Recognition Award. Learn more HERE.
Hampshire Care Association and Harvest Fine Foods Host Care Cook Workshops
We were pleased to announce that as a patron of The Hampshire Care Association, we sponsored and hosted Care Cook Workshops for healthcare professionals, who were part of the association, on Thursday 18th October. Read the full news release HERE.
Harvest Fine Foods supplies the UK’s first zero plastic solution
Life Water is the first UK company to produce a zero-plastic solution, where pure, natural spring water is sold in 100% recyclable tin cans and enjoyed by people on the go, with the aim to alleviate the world water crisis. Find out why we are delighted to be working with them from our Sales Director here.
A “‘No deal’ Brexit could cost food retailers and suppliers £9.3bn
According to a recent article in Farming Sector, a “No deal” Brexit could cost food retailers and suppliers £9.3bn. The Barclays report shows specific duties in result of a no deal will disproportionately target certain products including meat, cereal, olive oil, wine and sugar-based foods”. Read what our managing director has to say about how it could impact our customers here.
Find out about our NEW competition.
Make It, Plate It, Share It to win a £20 from Love2Shop HERE.
Harvest Fine Foods Emerges as one of the UK’s premier food service enterprises.
Read the full article, which appeared inside FoodChain magazine HERE.
We are delighted to introduce our fantastic 2018 Christmas selection. We have carefully selected the essential items, as well as the indulgent specialities, which we feel will help make your Christmas a great success. Download the full The Harvest Fine Foods Christmas Brochure or contact us for a hard copy.
We are sponsoring the Rotary Dorset Bike Ride
With its seventh annual event, the Rotary Dorset Bike Ride is returning and hoping to exceed £250,000. Cyclists of all ages and abilities are being urged to saddle up once again for the 2018 Rotary Dorset Bike Ride to help raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK. After the success of last year’s event, which raised over £41,000 with more than £37,000 going to Cancer Research UK, the ride is returning once again this autumn for all the family.
Read the full article HERE.
An update on weather related crop shortages
The European vegetable processing sector have raised concerns about potential losses to crop quantity and quality as a result of the very hot summer and prolonged drought conditions in all leading European production regions.
Learn more HERE
Students battle it out in Tri-College culinary competition
Culinary students from Fareham College, Highbury College and City College Southampton all took part in a MasterChef-style intercollege competition, aimed at bringing the three colleges together and allowing the students to show off their cooking skills in a professional kitchen environment…
Read the full article HERE.
Country Range – The Award Winning Brand
It’s been a fantastic week for Country Range Brand with a “Magnificent 7” individual product awards…