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As the UK’s leading importer and distributor of specialist fruit and vegetables you would expect The French Garden to have played a pivotal role in the changing face of British cuisine, but when the company was born on the eve of a food revolution it was an answer to a question that most British wholesalers of the time didn’t even know was being asked.
It was 1987 and the country’s palates were changing. Diners favoured new foods like baby vegetables, wild mushrooms and the different varieties of salads that today have become commonplace but then were unheard of.
Acutely aware of the shift, French Garden owner, then catering supplier, Grenville Snowdon, began sourcing supplies direct from Rungis, Paris, the biggest and most impressive food market in the world. He had an overwhelmingly positive reaction from chefs and the rapidly growing fledgling company helped fuel the British restaurant boom of the early nineties.
Starting off in small premises in New Covent Garden with just a skeleton staff of six, including a French buyer based in Paris, the business today, just over a quarter of a century later, employs more than 140 staff.
The company has expanded to a ten unit, fully refrigerated premises, still in the market, with more than 14 HGV deliveries a week, bringing in an unequalled range of produce, including soft fruits, exotics, and cultivated mushrooms, from all over the world, and complemented by an ever-expanding portfolio of specialist British growers.
In short The French Garden is a byword for excellence and quality, both in the produce it sells and the team it employs.