Recently it has become a habit of mine to shop at the local fruit and vegetable market, which in central Birmingham is actually a well-known and prestigious market at the Bullring site. Prices are excellent and the only penalty is the need to deal with crowds of shoppers and the lack of polite social courtesy that goes hand in hand with them. Why people become so rude and inconsiderate of others when a bargain is in hand is one of my particular moans, but that’s for another time.
What has become necessity, though, is learning which stalls have the freshest and best selection of produce and noting the tricks of the trade that can catch punters out. Things like filling bowls or punnets with fruit that is about to go off and just layering the top with fresh fruit is one trap that you particularly have to look out for.
What I love is being able to browse the stalls and choose my own pieces of fruit and vegetables from those available at the better stores, hunting out just the ripeness and size I need rather than being confined to the supermarket selection. And the produce on the whole is far superior quality to my local supermarkets. Tomatoes actually smell like tomatoes, strawberries taste like strawberries. You don’t need to wait a fortnight for mangoes to ripen or risk breaking a tooth on a nectarine.
Plus of course there is the added benefit at the market of knowing you are supporting local traders and businesses outside of the supermarket haul. So there it is. This little piggy went to market, and came home with bags full of goodies and hands full of change.