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Michael Barker

BY MICHAEL BARKER

@michaelbarker

‘True English gent’ Andrew Poulton passes away

70-year-old founder of Be Organic, who served more than half a century in the trade, passes away following a battle with cancer

‘True English gent’ Andrew Poulton passes away

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Fresh produce veteran and founder of Be Organic, Andrew Poulton, has passed away at the age of 70. 

Poulton, who was widely known and respected throughout the trade both in the UK and abroad, started his career in 1964 in Old Covent Garden Market at a company called Dan Wuille & Co, following in the footsteps of his greengrocer father in coming into the industry.

He once wrote of his first day at work: “There I was one Monday at 7.30am, 17 years old, voice not broken, 5’4, 10 stone maximum and wearing a suit from Burtons that my mum bought for me. Looking very conspicuous – everything brand new.”

His fondness for his surroundings, work and colleagues shone through, and he was soon taking on the job of junior salesman as he impressed his bosses with his dedication and willingness to learn.

A decade later he moved to Spitalfields at the request of Colin Bentley at Whites, an era he described as among the happiest in his career. 

In the 1980s he got a job as a trading director at Dole, which he left in 2002 to set up Be Organic. The company, which is a particular specialist in citrus and topfruit, supplies organic produce to box schemes, the wholesale and processing trade as well as major high street retailers. 

Poulton has been described by customers and suppliers alike as “a true English gent”, with his many friends across the industry remarking on his passion and knowledge of citrus in particular. He was always generous with his advice to others and relished the opportunity to talk about the trade he knew so well. Son-in-law and colleague Dave Barker said it was typical of the man that despite fighting cancer for 16 months he was enjoying working right until the end. 

A keen golfer, who had been in and around single figure handicaps for over 40 years, last year he realised his dream of captaining the Royal Blackheath Golf Club. He was also an avid Charlton Athletic fan and a keen fly fisherman.

Poulton is survived by his wife of 48 years Janice, their daughter Alix and son Daniel.

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