|The Barn Bio Market|
|Place Saint-Pierre 38, 1040 Brussels|
|Car and bike parking lots|
|The Barn Bio Market||Tuesday-Friday: 11am-8pm|
|Place Saint-Pierre 38, 1040 Brussels||Saturday: 10am-6pm|
|Car and bike parking lots||Sunday: 10am-4pm|
The Barn Bio Market, it’s 500m² of organic food in Etterbeek. Open 6 days a week, this covered market has been launched by two young entrepreneurs: Quentin Labrique and Julien de Brouwer. Passionate about nature, the two Belgian associates jumped on the growing wave of responsible consumerism to fulfill their enterprising drive. Emphasis is thus placed, to my great joy, on bulk and recovered materials. I just had to go in this half conventional market, half supermarket!
Once arrived on St. Peter’s Square, I headed towards the entrance that looks like a garage door, but without the door. I was then surprised to discover a green small yard with a few benches. Inside, all the wood and light made me feel at home. The atmosphere is peaceful and friendly. And guess what… No wrapped food at first sight, I was thrilled!
95 % OF BULK PRODUCTS
At The Barn Bio Market, almost everything is sold in bulk. You only buy what you need. Vegetables, fruits, cheeses, pasta (2,63€/kg), rice (from 2,63€/kg), pulses (from 3,11€/kg), grains (from 2,40€/kg), seeds (from 2,79€/kg), dry fruits (from 4,73€/kg), nuts (from 19,52€/kg), olives (from 17,54€/kg), sugars (from 2,91€/kg), salts (3,38€/kg), coffee (16,79€/kg), tea (from 4,31€/100g), cookies (from 19,60€), almond paste (from 25,94€/kg), sesame paste (11,25€/kg), hazelnut paste (33,13€/kg), and cocoa/hazelnut spread (19,35€/kg) are sold by weight. Olive oil (from 4,50€/l), sunflower oil (5,01€/l), linseed oil (14,37€/l), rapeseed oil (5,57€/l) and cider vinegar (3,65€/l) must be bottled by the pint or liter. Chocolates (from 1,94€/90g), eggs (0,37€/pc) and bakery items are sold by the piece.
Other products – such as fresh cream (2,82€/25cl), yoghurt (from 2,10€/500g), jam (from 4,19€/325g), honey (from 7,37€/500g), applesauce (3,88€/660g), tomato sauce (2,83€/700g), mustard (3,21€/250g), juice (from 2,15€/1l), beer (from 1,06€/25cl) and wine (from 7,71€/75cl) – are available in glass containers. Flour (from 4,34€/3kg) is sold wrapped in paper. Meat products, water and some dairy products – such as milk or ricotta – come in plastic packaging, but there’s still hope for alternatives to emerge ! The Barn team cares a lot about the zero waste cause and is thus constantly looking for ways to reduce waste. ꒰⑅•ᴗ•⑅꒱ As proof, the market will soon collaborate with a mobile butcher shop offering fresh-cut meat as well as expertise! At the moment, you can already buy your Sunday’s grilled chicken at the rotisserie truck Victor before entering the market.
LOCAL AND ORGANIC
All foods The Barn Bio Market proposes are organic and grown/produced as locally as possible. For instance, breads and viennoiseries (making my mouth water) stem from the talent of Benoît Segonds, settled in the province of Liège. His pieces of jewellery are available all week, except Tuesdays when it’s time for Joao Martins (Le Bon Pain) to share his art. Likewise, flours come from the Ferme Baré and yogurts from the Fromagerie des Ardennes.
You got it: the assortment has numerous Belgian products all year round, especially in the summer according to Quentin. He and Julien attach indeed great importance to supporting Belgian farmers and artisans. To this end, the two associates work directly with 15 large suppliers, including the Interbio cooperative. The market also collaborates with 4 to 5 smaller suppliers delivering weekly. Respect of seasons and short channels: these are exactly what I’m looking for.
EXTENSIVE AND CONVENIENT
At The Barn Bio Market, organic food goes together with affordability. Some prices even defy all competition. Have you already bought 1 liter of organic olive oil for only 4,50€? Now, you can! Nonetheless, I believe the biggest advantage of this market lies in the variety of products it offers. I was so happy to find there bulk Himalayan salt! It was impossible to get unrefined salt in any other bulk shop. Plus, there’s a large choice of chocolates and cookies. I particularly love the lemon shortbreads! What about the founders’ favorite products? Quentin, for his part, told me tomatoes are just exquisite while Julien finds the nut bread irresistible.
Coconut red lentils or ginger and turmeric basmati rice are another surprising foods that you can purchase at The Barn. You won’t find those at the Tanneurs market. The same goes for tomato juice, chia seeds, bulgur, dried pineapples, pecan nuts, …, the bread-slicing machine and the zero-waste stand. Glass jars are, amongst others, available for sale (1,3€/jar of 555ml or 1,7€/jar of 1l). The precision scale constitutes an additional asset to tare your containers for bulk. No need to bring a second, empty container of the same type. In practical terms, there’s nothing best!
The Barn Bio Market team truly cares about the environment. Hence, selling bulk goods wasn’t enough. Olivier and Julien also made the store’s interior and infrastructure out of recovered materials. The fruit and vegetable stands were all constructed from used pallets. The bakery table was originally used by painters to stand on when painting houses. Even the bike parking was built from old rails.
The team also helps out social care organizations, such as 123 and Recup’Kitchen, by giving them any food that is more than one day old. Food that cannot be donated goes onto the market’s compost heap. The latter is accessible to everyone in the neighborhood. To handle and optimize it, the staff includes a specialist who’s uniquely trained in composting. In the future, Quentin and Julien would like to open a restaurant adjacent to the market where customers could taste homemade soups and smoothies with veggies or fruits that would otherwise get trashed.
Finally, the team also works hand in hand with the organizations Recycork and Passe le message à ton voisin. The first one recycles wine corks and repurposes them into home insulation. The second one collects bottle caps and turns them into funds for people with disabilities or reduced mobility. Don’t forget to bring your corks and plastic caps next time you go to The Barn Bio Market. (｡♥‿♥｡)
THE BARN BIO MARKET IN A FEW PICTURES
⚠ I don’t get any commission for recommending products or retailers. I simply believe they are great.