The Veg Factor shifts its Michelin Star service to home deliveries

The Veg Factor in Barrow upon Soar, Leicestershire, began life in 2009, supplying fresh produce to East Midlands pubs and restaurants. Over the past decade, it’s built an enviable client list, delivering everything from Chinese artichokes to Jersey Royals to Michelin-starred restaurants such as John’s House in Mountsorrel and Hambleton Hall of Rutland, and to award-winners including The Olive Branch in Clipsham, The Wheatsheaf in Greetham, Hitchin’s Barn in Oakham, and the pubs belonging to Leicestershire’s Little Britain Pub Company.

Hambleton Hall

However, that all changed on March 20 when the government closed pubs and restaurants. “Overnight we lost 80% of our business,” says The Veg Factor’s sales & marketing director Carl Woolley. “Somehow, we had to rebuild the business, while continuing to fulfil our duty to supply care homes and schools.”

The Wheatsheaf in Greetham

The team immediately refocused to concentrate on consumer sales. “We launched a doorstep delivery service, supplying local homes with restaurant-quality produce,” says Carl.

Every day for the past 11 years, The Veg Factor has visited London’s New Covent Garden Market to source the freshest, best-quality fruit, herbs and vegetables. And that habit is continuing despite the change of focus.

New Covent Garden Fruit & Vegetable Market. Photo: Facebook.

“We’ve always used Covent Garden,” says Carl. “It means we keep the quality and seasonality high. We are usually one of the East Midlands’ first suppliers to get ‘first-of-the-season produce’ such as asparagus and Jersey Royals, which means restaurants – and now households – can get them without delay. We also source from Rungis Market in Paris and from Milan, picking up delicacies such as Monk’s Beard, violet artichokes, Italian winter leaf like Castelfranco and puntarelle. However, of late this has become more difficult due to the crisis.”

Castelfranco

Furthermore, The Veg Factor sources from local producers “where the quality is right” – including Colston Basset Dairy, Manor Farm Yogurt, Hambleton Bakery and Vine Farm Dairy. “We are looking to work with other local producers and will pay a fair price,” says Carl.

So, if you’re looking for a supply of Monk’s Beard or just some spuds – plus local milk, bread, pies and more – you can order and choose your delivery slot on The Veg Factor’s website. And if you live outside the delivery zone (enter your postcode on its website to check), a call-and-collect service is available. Call 01509 815815.

Matt Wright
The author:

Matt lives in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. He is passionate about the independent food & drink sector and founded Great Food Club in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town.