Wellocks in 2016

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2016 was a great year for Wellocks as we travelled far and wide to bring you wonderful new products and expanded our operations at home to serve you better.

Our search for the perfect ingredient continues to expand and give you access to the best of the best. In the spring, we launched Special Branch – a collection of extraordinary products that offer incredible flavour and appearance. Special Branch products are handpicked from the best producers around the world – many of whom we have worked with directly for years to create long-term partnerships.

In fact the idea for Special Branch was born out of the partnership with Finca Duernas Olive Oil that began six years ago. Last October, our MD James Wellock headed back out to Cordoba, Spain just in time for the harvest, to record the incredible journey that lies behind the production of Wellocks Arbequina Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil.

Last year James also travelled to Italy on another taste quest to discover the secret behind the amazing flavours of Special Branch Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses. James met the incredibly humble and inspiring Zanetti family who have been producing these cheeses for generations.

Back home, James took a trip to Tiptoe Farm in Northumberland to meet with Lucy and Anthony Carroll of Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes. This trip showcased the incredible variety of taste and textures that our humble potatoes can offer when growers invest in producing heritage potatoes as well as the high-yield modern strains.

Operationally, 2016 was a huge year for Wellocks. We have seen the arrival of 20 new vehicles, and one custom-built trailer from specialist Ekeri. The bespoke trailer was designed to meet our spec. It is the first side-opening trailer in our fleet and has significantly reduced loading and unloading times. At our HQ, we have created a state-of-the-art maintenance garage to service our fleet and keep our vehicles in pristine condition for reliable deliveries.

Our commitment to clean – and green – services saw us appear on national TV in November when our green crate delivery system was featured on BBC Watchdog. The programme featured our box wash machine which is used to steam clean every crate after each delivery. We were also excited to open a brand-new prep room this year which has transformed our prepared vegetables service and range.

Throughout the year, we continued to support chefs with donated produce and assistance at various events such as the Hospitality Action Dinner at Manchester House. This year we pledged our support to Frances Atkins and the Ethiopia Trek team which trekked over 80 kilometres across the Simien Mountains, raising an incredible £80,000 for Action Against Hunger.

We were also delighted to be involved in some spectacular dinners including The Star Inn the City’s famous Rhubarb dinner and Michelin dinner – which brought together some great talent and showcased our best seasonal produce. In late summer, James headed to California to visit Yountville, the incredible capital of chef Thomas Keller’s food empire. At the French Laundry, James was blown away by the unbelievable flavours and sheer inspiration of the dishes – all of which owed their magic to the sourcing and delicate care of ingredients used.

Finally, we were delighted to be awarded ‘Most Outstanding Business of the Year’ (Medium/Large) at the 2016 Pendle Business Awards. This local achievement highlighted the growth of Wellocks, from when it all began back in 1961.

For us, 2016 was a year where above all we proved that searching for, sourcing and delivering the perfect ingredients is the best way to invest in the future of our business – and help you secure the future of yours.

Thank you for all your support in 2016 and here’s to an even better 2017 for us all.

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