Our business began as an entirely wholesaling outfit that catered for some of London’s top restaurants. As such we were constantly put under pressure to deliver the very best produce in order to meet the demands of Michelin star chefs. Thus from a very early stage in this particular venture we learnt to search throughout Britain and Europe, even the world at large in order to suit the needs of our clients. We always endeavored to find a quality product over one which would suit our costing needs. This search would at times lead us abroad due to the fact that many British Farms at the time were geared towards suiting the fast paced, low priced, commercialized market; at times this led to a drop in quality. However it has remained our constant aim to stay within British Borders largely because we are aware of the stunning quality of product this land is capable of producing. Thus we began to search Britain for farms which were indeed producing a product that was the rival to anything Europe or the world at large had to offer.
We have now managed to create a vast network of British Farms which we strongly believe provide superior products; for example we source our strawberry’s from Kent and Potatoes from Cambridgeshire both from the regions which we have found to have the best quality of product, however we are always searching for new farms to add to the network and as such believe we can constantly find the best Britain has to offer. Thus when we are able to find a fantastic British product this is what we will stock for our customers. However we also feel that it is ridiculous to intentionally deny our customers the pleasure of exploring specialist products from the rest of Europe and beyond.
Although we do promote the British Product our main aim remains to bring the very optimum in Quality even if it does mean we have to travel for the taste.
Turnips have now been around for over 15 years – run by Fred and Caroline Foster who met at Tatchbrook street market in Pimlico. Fred took over ‘The Fosters of Pimlico` with Caroline over 20 years ago, this was a business which had run in the Foster Family for three generations displaying a clear expertise and apparent know-how in this particular field of business. Fred however began to branch out from the specialist yet restrictive constraints of the family stalls. It was the expertise, guidance and extremely high demands of the three Michelin star chef Nico Ladenis which opened this 3rd generation stall to the wider possibilities inherent within the sourcing of products from different markets and farms in search of the highest quality produce. It was here that the ethos behind the company now known as Turnips began.
Whilst still at their stall in Pimlico Fred and Caroline began to earn themselves a reputation for quality produce; so much so that the late Jennifer Patterson of the two fat Ladies’ would rave about the produce on display in the ‘spectator’. Unfortunately due to the seemingly unstoppable rise of the supermarket and the subsequent demise of the market stall the ‘Fosters of Pimlico’ was forced out of Tatchbrook street market. At this time the Borough Market was a diminishing wholesale market, yet unlike many of the major international wholesale markets in London it retained its charm and also a very strong connection to the British Farmer, this market not only offered these attributes but also gave Fred the opportunity to source produce from the other three major markets nearby, thus providing an ideal base from which Fred and Caroline were able to continue their push towards quality. The Name `Turnips’ came about through Fred`s love for Football, at the time the England Manager (Graham Taylor) had been dubbed ‘Turniphead’ by the Mirror and thus in an attempt to link his new business with football Fred named his business after the embarrassed England coach. Having now found a name and location Turnips was born.
In these early days Turnips was a strictly Wholesaling/catering company of which they were the only kind in the Market which allowed for the company to develop in a unique manor and as such the reputation of Turnips began to grow amongst London’s most elite Restaurants. Soon word had spread to the most popular of Television Chefs; Jamie Oliver, having heard tell of the specialist produce on offer at Turnips paid the war-mouse a visit and wondered how a business could possibly survive in this failing market. that was the Borough. Jamie was thus invited to the very first quarterly ‘’Warehouse Sale` of which Turnips was the only business within the market to participate in. Jamie’s interest in the Retailing potential of the Borough Market grew and the publicity drawn by him was indeed a great boost to this young enterprise. From those early days the Retail aspect of the market and indeed Turnips itself has grown phenomenally.