Ooh it must be a good couple of years now since I’ve stopped regularly buying fresh fruit and vegetables from the supermarket. Except in the direst of emergencies (such as plugging a screaming toddler with a face-full of grapes). Not only is the produce expensive, it is also generally horribly unripe and seems to go straight to mouldy or shrivelled without ever passing anything amounting to edible. For several years now I’ve tried to grow as many of our vegetables as possible (we don’t have flower beds, we have vegetable beds) and some fruit (strawberries and raspberries) but there is always a need to supplement this - either to fill the hungry gap in late winter, because a crop has been ravaged by some wee beastie, or because my growing family consumes faster that I can produce.
For a few years now I’ve been doing our weekly fruit and veg shop at our town’s high street market held every Friday and Saturday. It’s handy that I have a buggy to hang all my shopping bags on and push home, but I even used to shop there when I was at work – popping down the high street on my Friday lunch break and picking up a treat or two at the bakery stall at the
The fruit and veg stall is massive and run by a bunch of delightfully flirtatious cockney lads and lasses who are always good for a bit of banter and occasionally slip my eldest son the odd apple or banana as a freebie. In the deep winter months when the garden is pretty bare, for under a tenner a week I get enough produce to feed three hungry mouths (Baby Belatedly is still on milk). And boy do we like our fruit and veg. The fruit is always perfectly ripe and appropriately juicy or crispy and lasts a lot better than the supermarket stuff. I also come home with plastic carrier bags to line my waste paper baskets and lovely brown paper bags – the larger of which line my compost caddy and the smaller of which are used to wrap up Mr Belatedly’s sandwiches for work. Now that’s what I call a fruitful shop. (Sorry).