Market welcomes The Real Junk Food Project

Simon Edge and Rob Nixon at the Birminghsm

The Wholesale Market welcomed a regular visitor yesterday. Simon Edge is a co-director of The Real Junk Food Project CIC.

The Real Junk Food Project is a collaborative effort to bring about radical change in our food system. It’s a pretty simple idea with huge impact. Levels of global food waste are a disaster for our planet and the people that live on it. We save perfectly edible food that would otherwise not make it to your plate and make it available to all on a Pay As You Feel basis.

Everything we intercept is processed, quality controlled and distributed through our network of cafes, Sharehouses, Freegan Boxes, schools and community groups to #FeedBelliesNotBins.

The Market supports the Real Junk Food Project in anyway it can.

Simon is pictured with Rob Nixon, General Manager of the Birmingham Wholesale Market on Pauls Produce stand who had that morning donated produce which was destined for Birmingham’s City Hospital.

Market signs up for Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility

The Birmingham Wholesale Market are proud to have signed up to the Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility.

The Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility aims to boost the local economy through support to the local supply chain, creation of job opportunities and ensuring employees are paid a fair wage.

The Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility is a set of guiding themes to which Birmingham City Council (BCC) will adhere and invites its contracted suppliers, the wider business community, other public sector bodies (including schools) and third sector organisations (including grant recipients) to adopt. In some cases, adopting the Charter is a requirement of specific contracts or grants. In all cases, adopting the Charter is a visible and recognisable sign of your organisation’s commitment to the local economy and its communities.

Find out more about the Charter here.


Market welcomes the BBC

BBC Breakfast at the Wholesale Market in Birmingham

The Birmingham Wholesale Market on Wednesday welcomed BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Breakfast who were both providing live coverage through the morning. The main topic was Brexit and how this would affect the fresh produce sector. 

We also welcomed Henrietta Brealey, Director of Policy and Strategic Relationships at the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, Justin Benson, UK Head of Automotive at KPMG and Lord Digby Jones who all provided fascinating insight on Brexit and the Fresh Produce Sector.

RICS Awards at the Market

Birmingham Wholesale Market team with RICS Midlands Awards

It was great to welcome the @BhamCityCouncil team to the Market along with the awards from @RICSMidlands recently. A brilliant achievement for all involved. The Market is the largest integrated fresh food market in Europe and it’s fantastic it’s in Birmingham. In the picture from Left to Right are: Rob Nixon (General Manager), Keith Simpson (Director – Technolink), Ian Chaplin (Head of Investment Property Management – Birmingham City Council), Megan Bestwick (Senior Project Manager – Turner & Townsend), Kathryn James (Assistant Director for Property – Birmingham City Council) and Mark Tate (Director of George Perry Ltd and Board member for the Wholesale Market)

Happy 1st Anniversary to the Market!

The Birmingham Wholesale Market is the largest wholesale market in the UK, and one of the largest integrated wholesale markets in Europe. Set on an 18 acre site in Witton, the purpose built facility is minutes from the centre of Birmingham and employs over a 1000 members in a variety roles across a diverse set of businesses.

The Market offers a wide range of delicious fresh fruit & vegetables, seafood, meat, poultry and flowers from experienced traders across two halls measuring 216,500 square foot in size. Produce is sourced and imported from over 140 countries from around the world ensuring the produce offering is diverse and varied to suit local business and hospitality requirements. The high-quality produce is sold to restaurants, hotels, fast food outlets and retailers across the Midlands and Wales.

Since opening with over 48 traders on site, it is estimated that in the past year over 500,000 people have visited the Market and it welcomes on average 1,500 vehicles per day onto the site.
Originally opened on 8th May 2018 the Market is celebrating its one-year anniversary. During May and June 2019, we are celebrating the huge success of the market, the diverse product range and high-quality produce on offer with a variety and activities.

At the time of opening Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council said: “The markets continue to play a major part in Birmingham life and this is the next exciting chapter in a story that goes back almost 900 years. This state-of-the-art facility brings the markets firmly into the 21st Century and I’d like to thank traders for working with Birmingham City Council on this project. I’m sure Birmingham’s historic Wholesale Markets and the many traders working there will now grow from strength to strength.”

Market Operations Manager to walk 3 peaks for charity

Our Operations Manager Andrew Barnes is set to take on a sizeable challenge in walking the Yorkshire 3 Peaks in 12 hours for Motor Neurone Disease Association because his long time friend Phil Stephenson has MND.

More details on this can be found here:

The Story

We are part of team Stevo8 who are raising vital funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association by taking on the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge on 16th March 2019.

This is an epic challenge climbing Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, it’s a gruelling 24 miles with a 5200ft ascent at its highest, it takes around 12 hours to complete.

Thank you to our walkers/climbers..

Leigh Burrow, Mark Schofield, Andy Stephenson, Trevor Bairstow, Mick Gillard, Chris Parr, Kate Parr, John Parkinson, Amy Parkinson, Marie Parkinson, Chris Parkinson, Joanne Rogers, Harvey Rogers, Daniel Richardson, Nicola Richardson, Eddie Harney, Lizzie Harney, Nadia Stewart, Tim Roberts, Claire Duffy, Paul Duffy, Graeme Rogers, Chris Parkinson-Maude, Diane Parkinson-Maude, Luka Pickford, Scott Pendlebury, Andrew Barnes, Lydia Barnes, Lisa Gardner, Rachel Harney and Karen Stephenson.

Our friend Phil Stephenson, was sadly diagnosed with the terminal Motor Neurones Disease in June 2017 at the age of 44.

We are at the 18 month point from diagnosis. Phil can no longer use his arms. His legs are affected and he is using a wheelchair, his voice is becoming laboured, with struggling to form some words and sounds.

MND will take everything from you, your body, arms, legs, voice. It will take the things we take for granted like being able to hold your head up, to swallow food and drink, to talk, to laugh. It will take your future, your plans for growing old, seeing your children grow up, becoming a grandparent.

MND is a cruel disease, currently there is no cure. Life expectancy from diagnosis is 2-5 years. One day with this vital fundraising there will be. Sadly Phil won’t be with us when the cure comes, it won’t happen in his lifetime but for us as TeamStevo8, when the cure does come.. We will know we contributed, we did all we could in honour of him.

Phil is father to our 3 children Jamie, Laura and Jack. He is a retired Rugby League player, spending much of his career at Keighley Cougars and Clayton ARLFC, during this time Phil gained many fans through his game ethic, always working hard, never giving in, no ego, positivity, always cheerful, this is how he is facing MND… despite the devastating news, Phil is living life to the full, moving forward, still giving to others, he has time for everyone and still cheerful, spreading laughter to everyone, he is one of life’s great people, much loved and respected by all who are lucky to know him.

Phil will tell you ‘if you can still laugh, it’s okay’ and what a laugh he has, all who know him, love his deep chuckle xx

TeamStevo8 is a group of amazing people (family and friends) inspired by Phil to raise funds for the MNDA, one day with this vital fundraising we will find a cure or treatment for this disease.

We have raised over £26,000 since Phils diagnosis in June 2017 for the MNDA and there is no stopping us.

We have done so many things to get to the 25K.. Recently 23 of us ran the Great North Run in September 2018. We’ve had Race Nights, Abba Nights, Raffles, School Nights, Fancy Dress Pub Crawls, Rugby Games, Cake Sales, Half Marathons (Phil ran Manchester in October 2017 after he was diagnosed…amazing), Head Shaves, Sponsorship for Motorbike events. We even had money donated from some of our wonderful friends Wedding, who had asked guests to donate instead of gifts.

Thank you everyone you’re amazing, you’re support and generosity is overwhelming.

We are going to help find the cure/treatment for MND one day.

School Children Tour Market

Children from Hillstone School in Birmingham visiting the Birmingham Wholesale Market

The market welcomed nine pupils accompanied by four members of the teaching staff from Hillstone Primary School. They had a small presentation by Rob Nixon on the site history, the fact that Birmingham had its market dating back to 1166 and some facts about food.

The children then were taken on a tour of the market. The traders had been prewarned of a tour so a number were very pro-active and also there was no bad language heard throughout the morning!  The pupils were given fruit and had explanations about where certain products had come from and were able to discover fruit and vegetables they did not otherwise recognise.

Children from Hillstone School enjoying a fish demonstration by Caterfish in the Wholesale Market


They tasted fruit such as blood oranges and were each given fruit and a bunch of daffodils to take away. Caterfish demonstrated how fish are filleted and they were able to stand in the cold room at -25 degrees. They saw vegetables such as Yuccas, Dasheen and Taro alongside the varieties of tomatoes and fish with names such as yellow eye, doctor fish and parrot fish as well as getting to hold live lobsters.

They enjoyed their tour and were very interested by the environment and hopefully took away a further understanding about food.

Below is a video of the trip:


The history of the Barrowmen / Market Porters

The iconic two-wheeled carts still seen at wholesale markets are market porters (alternatively known as Banksmen) barrows used to deliver produce from the market stand to the loading point of someone’s lorry / van.

 A selection of Barrows from the Birmingham Wholesale Market
A selection of Barrows from the Birmingham Wholesale Market

Despite the increased use of Fork lift Trucks and powered carts they are still very much in use at Wholesale markets throughout the country and the Birmingham Wholesale market still has a number with many having been in use for over 100 years.

The reason they have not been easily replaced is simply down to the design perfected over decades that allows a heavy load to be moved with reasonable force due to the counterbalance of the barrows. The springs meant that stuff wouldn’t vibrate and fall off on the rough & cobbled streets of earlier years.

A seasoned porter can get circa 50 boxes of oranges on a single barrow if loaded correctly. It really is an art and dependent upon knowing the produce and type of container.
The aim once loaded is of course to pick it up and move without tipping it. If you manage to tip it up it still results in much comment and disparaging remarks from fellow porters.

At one time the porters would have to own a porter licence and would be paid by the customer per job, but today the porters are employed by companies within the market.

Roddy, Barrowman maintenance man ensures the Barrows are all up and running
Roddy, Barrowman maintenance man ensures the Barrows are all up and running

The Market welcomes the Lord Mayor of Birmingham

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham with her Husband and Birmingham Wholesale Market management and traders
The Lord Mayor of Birmingham with her Husband and Birmingham Wholesale Market management and traders

The Birmingham Wholesale Market recently had a visit from the Lord Mayor of Birmingham. Yvonne Mosquito and her husband Winston enjoyed a full tour of the facility. During this time they met with a lot of tenants as well as the management team.

The Lord Mayor was very impressed with the new facility and thought it was a great triump for Birmingham as it will enable better and more efficient trade.