A trend has been emerging for a few years now, with healthy, local and/or organic produce becoming increasingly sought after.
The north of the metropolitan area has been no stranger to this craze and, since July, has added the organic market FRESHO in Wanfercée-Baulet (Fleurus) to its growing list of quality purveyors.
We went along to meet the man behind this friendly company, Paul Ghislain, who told us the story of how this SME has spotted opportunities but has also had to adapt to occasionally difficult market realities.
The early days…
A trained cook and staunch defender of organic farming, Paul Ghislain decided over 10 years ago to embark upon his entrepreneurial adventure. His first idea? A homemade organic soup delivery service. This first business idea is what gave the company its name: FRESHO meaning fresh and hot (SHO = “chaud”, meaning hot in French).
A few months after launching his project, his eye was drawn to the European “fruit and vegetables for schools” programme.
As part of this programme, he began to supply fresh fruit to his first school at the end of 2009. The service took off very quickly; in 2018, almost 450 schools in Wallonia and Brussels were ordering from him. This means that each week over 100,000 pupils were benefiting from fresh and organic fruit or vegetables, carefully delivered by him.
At the end of 2018, the European programme crumbled due to the heavy administrative restrictions it placed upon schools.
Fortunately, the company had a real go-getter at the helm, who had more than one idea up his sleeve. He diversified their activities and FRESHO began to supply organic fruit baskets to companies and fresh, organic fruit and vegetables to kitchens.
Deliveries by bike, a brand-new website, new e-commerce, dairy products and healthy meals delivered to schools… Paul Ghislain doesn’t rest on his laurels.
In early 2020, the health crisis came knocking and threw a spanner in the works of FRESHO, which had to instantly shut down its activities, like so many other businesses.
Paul Ghislain, then pulled a new idea out of his cap which had been lingering in the back of his mind for a long time: opening an ORGANIC market!
In the space of merely weeks, his storage facility had been transformed into a shop and since July he has been selling an attractive range of local products, sourced exclusively from organic farming, at affordable prices. Fruit and vegetables, dairy products, freshly-baked bread, meat, store cupboard items sold by weight, beverages, beer and wine, cleaning products… The market sells a wide range of products.
That little extra: every weekend, FRESHO sells delicious organic roast chicken, reared and directly supplied from the surrounding countryside.
Local to the max: 100% organic
Since its creation, FRESHO has been supplying its client base with products that are 100% organic, certified by an independent authority.
The company also sources locally as much as possible – ultra-local you might even call it, given that the vast majority of its fruit and vegetables come from the neighbouring fields of Toubio, organic fruit and vegetable grower.
Head full of ideas
Paul Ghislain has no shortage of ideas. 10 years after hanging up his chef’s apron, a nagging thought about getting back in the kitchen just wouldn’t go away. Depending on how his existing services are going and the time he has available, he is thinking about selling a range of ready-made meals every weekend at the market too.
Convinced? Does the idea of concocting meals made with local, organic and seasonal produce have you salivating? FRESHO has you covered! Call in at the new organic market from Tuesday to Sunday.
Rue de Plomcot, 4
071 48 68 48
071 49 05 85