Hip shops: Hugo's

by Jess Carter

10 September 2018

Hugo Sapsed is all about Bristol-grown produce

What: fruit, veg and groceries

Where: North Street, Bristol BS3 1ES

When: Tues - Sat 8.30am -6pm; Sun 9.30am - 3.30pm

Since first opening its doors in early February, this little Bedminster greengrocers has grown big and plump – just like the colourful veggies you’ll find inside it. Starting out solely with local produce from neighbouring growers, Hugo’s has expanded its range to include ingredients from a little further afield, as well as some exotic offerings.

That said, the emphasis is still very much on West Country goods – not just fruit and veg, either, but also artisanal offerings from local makers like Triple Co Roast, Little Hollows Pasta, Homewood Cheeses, Edible Futures, and The Bristol Loaf. Nowadays you can do a whole shop (and even treat yourself to a fresh cup of Joe) here. If you’re local, though, you needn’t even venture out in the first place – get yourself a veg box delivered instead.

“It’s really kicking off with the boxes,” says Hugo Sapsed. “People like to pick what’s in there – organic, local, stuff from the farm...”

Having returned to his home city of Bristol following a stint in London working in fashion, Hugo tells us that one of his first jobs was at Reg the Veg (a former Hip Shops star, as you may well remember). Working there at weekends as a kid clearly ignited a real interest in this kind of produce – Hugo chats to us enthusiastically about the growers and makers whose wares line his shelves. In fact, he’ll talk to anyone about fruit and veg, if they give him half the chance...

“People ask questions and have a chat all the time. I often have conversations with kids – they ask me loads about fruit and veg. People really like to test your knowledge and see how much you really know. All the customers are really sound here, everyone’s so nice.”

September will bring with it a whole new range of stock, as we edge into autumn and fresh stashes of food are harvested.

“There are going to be amazing mushrooms coming in soon,” says Hugo, who works with a local foraging business for ingredients like this. “Also, English apples have just started coming in; I’m tasting the first of them now and they’re fantastic. We’re also warming up for autumnal roots, of course, which will be here before long.”

It’s not only the seasons that dictate what’s going to be appearing on the shelves, though – the punters who shop here also have an important influence.

“There’s lots of new stuff coming; I have loads of Italian and Spanish customers who are gasping for products from home, and I’m planning to get in more local ferments as well.

“We’ve also started doing freshly squeezed juices – you can either choose from the menu or pick stuff from the shelves to be juiced.”

Meeting that seven-a-day mark should be a breeze for shoppers here, then.