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The greengrocers is no more

Until very recently there was an independent greengrocers shop on the main street in Malvern. The fruit and veg there wasn’t necessarily as beautiful as the offerings in a supermarket – the potatoes often had soil on them, which would never be allowed in Waitrose! – but it was much cheaper. And Pete the proprietor made a big thing of supplying local produce, as well as imported stuff. I’ve bought quince that he grew in his own garden, and have seen a battered Fiesta draw up outside with the back seat loaded with soft fruit from a farm in Ledbury, picked fresh only that morning. You can’t get much fewer food miles than that. Pete was always friendly too, and knew his customers. He used to tease me for being extravagant if I spent more than 10p on a piece of root ginger!

I tried to make a point of shopping there at least once a week, even though frankly Waitrose is more convenient, because I think it’s important to support small independent shops. But it was difficult to spend more than £4 there at a time, and even then only if I was splashing out on local in-season asparagus. So it was hard to understand the economics of how he kept going.

I went shopping on Saturday, the first time for a few weeks as I’ve been on holiday. And as usual I had a list of veg I wanted to buy from the grocer. But the shop had closed while I’ve been away, and I didn’t even get a chance to commiserate with Pete. It’s a real shame, and Malvern will be the poorer without him. I was chatting to the butcher (whom I also try to shop from once a week, even though I’m not a huge meat eater and all I buy some weeks is a couple of sausages) and he reckons that it was the competition from the supermarkets that did for Pete in the end. I hope the butcher can hold out – it seems that they too are really feeling the pinch, and can’t compete on price with the bulk-purchasing power of the big supermarkets. They have to try to compete on quality and service – and indeed I really like the way that they will cut me a joint down to a small enough size for just me, and take the bone out while they’re at it.

Goodbye Veg’n’Things. I’ll miss you.

{ 2 } Comments

  1. pauld | 25 April 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Yet 1 more victory for those big evil supermarkets, people should boycot them and use smaller ones, but it wont happen

  2. Veronica | 30 April 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    There is still the greengrocers in Barnards Green, and, like Pete they stock locally grown things. Indeed some of the produce is excess from local peoples gardens and allotments. There is a great deal to be said for the small independant shops, who will let you buy exactly what you want, in the small quantities required for cooking for one (David still being on the cheese sandwich regime).