One of the things I love about living in Italy is the small, locally owned food shops.
In Bagni di Lucca I like to shop at Patrizia’s fruit and vegetable establishment. Here it is “Non si tocca”, “Don’t touch”. Patrizia will help you chose what you want, the perfect tomatoes for your salad for lunch, the best pears to poach, or the melon that will be ripe for a Sunday feast.
We have markets that come to the village twice a week offering wonderful produce at excellent prices.
I can’t imagine why you would want to shop in a huge supermarket when you have gorgeous shops like this one in Florence.
…or the Central Market for fabulous choice like this.
..or this lovely deli in Lucca.
We have lost our butcher in Bagni di Lucca. He made the best sausages, but he couldn’t compete with the 2 supermarkets in town.
Other small shops have closed too, a deli and a fresh pasta shop. I hate to see this happening, but I can’t see a solution if people continue to do most of their shopping at supermarkets.
Here in Brisbane we have some excellent alternatives to supermarket shopping. In my local West End shopping strip we have a very good fruit and vegetable shop where you actually get to deal with the owners.
Mitch at James St markets has a great range of fresh food.
Jerome at the Sourced Grocer in New Farm has reinvented the corner store. He searches for small producers of delicious food for his well stocked shop. As well as this there is a small kitchen preparing breakfast, lunch, coffee and treats to eat at a long table. It is a great place to meet your friends while finding something special for dinner.
In Australia 2 large supermarket chains control the bulk of food retailing, which to me is all wrong. As well as setting the shopping hours and reducing the prices paid to producers, they are removing brand names from their shelves and replacing them with their own in house brands…just another way of removing the competition.
Of course supermarkets are convenient and it is easy to get into the habit of one stop shopping, but if we don’t use the alternatives there won’t be any.
Go for a walk, get to know the small businesses in your area. I’m sure they will be happy to see you.