While the first miles were pedaled in Brussels on the 6th of July during the 106th edition of the Tour de France, the very first edition of the Tour de France for the early fruit and vegetables began in a motorhome on the 2nd of July at Rungis. On board the vehicle, a team of 8 early adopters will travel through France in 16 stages, to meet professionals on the MIN.
Objective: "To help you discover our profession as a grocer"
It all started with a crazy bet between friends on a Sunday in June: "The idea of launching a Tour de France for the early fruit and vegetables with a motorhome came from my friend Atef Barbouche," says David Dohin, manager at Metro Cash and Cary. Three weeks later, they and their team are on the road, ready to introduce professionals to the new business: "Everything went very fast. The idea emerged, we contacted the Rungis MIN, who immediately followed us, and then we launched the project with the help of our main partner Blampin, the federation of wholesale markets and Saveurs commerce, which is the national federation of local food and specialist shops," he says.
"The objective of the event is really to make people discover our profession, which remains relatively unknown today, our daily work as a grocer but also all the new facets that make it up. We want to show people that the new business is not just about selling potatoes and carrots. It is much more complex than that. Moreover, being really focused on French production, it is an excellent way to highlight these products but also the work of producers.
The event also aims to recruit the futures of tomorrow: "Since 2018, the "CAP primeur" has been in existence. We are therefore taking this opportunity to recruit a pool of professionals for the future and for our young people, by explaining our approach to them while introducing them to their future profession," explains David.
"It's the street school on the MIN"
For 24 days, the camper van will travel all over France to meet wholesalers active on the MINs and producers. "We were welcomed by Stéphane Layani on July 2nd at Rungis for the handover of the keys. The official departure was from the Senate where we met with the President of the Senate Gérard Larcher. In the meantime, we stopped on July 3rd in Rouen, on July 4th in Caen, on July 5th in Tours and on July 8th at the MIN in Nantes. Yesterday and today in Bordeaux. On the 11th and 12th we will be in Toulouse, on the 15th in Montpellier, on the 16th in Chateaurenard, and on the 17th in Marseille. On the 22nd in Grenoble, on the 23rd in Lyon, on the 24th in Orléans, on the 25th in Lille and to finish on the 26th in Paris.
As for the team, it is composed of 8 beginners: David Dohin, Atef Barbouche (Ferme de Longchamps) who created the fruit cake, Samira Lemaire (Sam's beginner), Rémi Langlois (Natur'halle), Eugénie Maurin (Les basiers d'Eugénie), Virginie Souchet (Couleur marché), Christiane Delicourt (Karré bio) and Dominique Ménager, world champion in fruit and vegetable sculpture.
"For a month, we will organize events to introduce wholesalers to products or varieties that are not necessarily known. We create fruit baskets embellished by our sculptor, conduct tastings and show professionals how they can enhance the value of their products in their shop. To do this, we even teach our customers to make some basic sculptures. It's like the street school on the MIN," says David.
"The event of the summer"
From the very first stages, David noticed that the motorhome aroused a lot of interest: "We were immediately very well received. It is the summer event a bit like the cyclists' tour de France where the roadsides are full when there is a stopover. People are on the verge of cheering us on, it's pretty amazing. I am really very pleasantly surprised. These first dates are already beautiful, so I can't even imagine what it will be like when we arrive on July 26th.
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