Cullens Fruit & Vegetables
Cullens fruit and veg is a family run company and have been in business since the 60’s. They are based in Aske, Gorey Co. Wexford. I met with Dara Cullen to hear about the importance of staying local and the history of the company.
‘My father Joe Cullen established Cullens Fruit & Vegetables. He grew cabbage in his garden and sold it to the locals. In the 70’s Joe invested in a truck and started producing vegetables for the Dublin market.’
Supporting local is very important to the Cullen family.
“We were all brought up within the business; it was something very close to us at a young age and we would have all helped out at the weekends and during the summer.
After I finished school I came straight out to work with my dad. My brother Neill would have started working with me and my dad at the same time.
When we joined the business we started to introduce our business in to shops, restaurants and hotels and as a result, the business just mushroomed!
We found by going out to meet the chefs and find out what they wanted/needed helped our business to grow.
Here in Wexford we are very lucky to have fantastic growing conditions which helps us provide a variety of vegetables to everyone.”
Tell us about the warehouse…
This building is a purpose built factory that is entirely refrigerated and is temperature controlled. We built this premises in 2004. We thought we were busy when we were in the smaller premises but we couldn’t believe how busy we got in this larger factory it was fantastic!
The fact that we can wash the vegetables here as soon as they come in from the farm is a huge advantage to the chefs.
We employ 42 staff members full time. We have a very loyal team here at Cullens. It still is very family orientated – my sister Orna works at the desk; my brother Eoin works on the road; myself and Neill run the business; Neill’s wife Fiona looks after the accounts and my dad still calls over everyday to check on the business. We’re still questionable to my dad (laughs)
Dara’s factory is completely refrigerated. All rooms are kept at different temperatures to suit different vegetables.
Tell us about some of your suppliers from Wexford?
All our food producers need to make sure that they reach a very high standard for us to supply their fruit and vegetables. All our food suppliers must make sure that all the produce can be traced back by date, time, farm and grower.
Johnny Fortune is our main potato supplier. We have been getting potatoes from Johnny for the last 20 years. Johnny grows his potatoes in Kilmore as the soil there is perfect because it’s quite sandy and healthy!
Our neighbour Paul Sunderland started to grow white cabbage and now Paul has a huge variety of crops that he grows for us. His farm is directly behind us, it’s very local!
Paul Sunderland was also working on Patrick Keohes farm in Oilgate and he put us in touch with Keohes farm who also grow a huge variety of vegetables.
To us it is very important to support local food producers as the quality is amazing when it’s on your doorstep. It’s picked and delivered in the same day.
Staying local is very important to you here in Cullens…
All the vegetables are picked from the farm, delivered to us and we wash and prep the vegetables then we will deliver them to Monart and Ferrycarrig Hotel in our refrigerated trucks. This all happens in the same day so the fruit and vegetables are as fresh as can be!
Keohes farm is a couple of miles away from Ferrycarrig Hotel. Keoghs family wedding was held in the Ferrycarrig Hotel and he knew his fresh vegetables would be served at the wedding. It just shows how great it is to stay local.
We always try and give back to our local community by providing local jobs, supplying local hotels and restaurants, buying from local food producers and supporting local charities. We have a great working relationship with our team, I think this is very important in the running of any business.
Dara you have a great relationship with our head chef in Monart and Ferrycarrig Hotel…
Yes, I sure do! Az called me one day looking for golden baby beetroot and nobody was growing it in Wexford so I called up to Paul and asked him to start growing it and he did. If it can grow in Wexford we will make sure we have it growing here. It is one of the advantages of staying local.
Our motto is Wexford first!
We have been supplying to Ferrcarrig Hotel for the last few years. Tony Carty (head chef Ferrycarrig Hotel) finds staying local very important, all you have to do is read the menu in Ferrycarrig and you can see all of the food producers from Wexford.
Cullens have been supplying the Griffin Hotel Group for the last 10 years.
Dara Cullen ensures that Monart Destination Spa and Ferrycarrig Hotel receive top quality fruit and vegetables everyday. Dara is only a phone call away from our head chef Az in Monart and Tony in Ferrycarrig.