Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It's Not Just the Grocery, It's an Adventure!

I have always loved to shop…
the Boss indulges my weakness for grocery store fieldtrips

…I better qualify that.

I love to shop for FOOD. (although not quite as much as I love to grow it...)

 But, I love the grocery store, the farmers’ market, wherever you might find food.  You never know what there will be…it can be fresh, wild, or maybe even exotic...the possibilities are endless.

When I was a little girl, the grocery store was far different than it is today.  The produce man stayed in his little area of the store.  He greeted you personally, answered your questions, and weighed out your order.  He marked on your bag (or directly on the bananas or melon) with his little wax pencil, then the cashier would manually put that price into the cash register.  This was long before barcodes and scanners…the cashier actually punched the little buttons and in some stores, still pulled down a lever that registered the sale.  (okay…say it….man, you are OLD!)

Gone are the days of the solitary produce man in one little corner of the store.  Produce is big business and there are countless items from around the world. The sheer abundance stimulates my imagination and I find myself wondering about the farmers in far off places who grew the odd and unusual items that can be found in some of the grocery stores in town. There's nothing like a trip through the produce section. It gives me all sorts of ideas.

The sheer abundance in the grocery reminds me of a story...

When my grandparents were in their declining years, it became evident that they needed in-home help.  My mother found a young couple that was willing to take on this all-consuming task.  While the circumstances escape me, I found myself, along with the wife of this young couple, in the middle of the most amazing grocery store I have ever encountered.  “Vinka” was a recent immigrant from Poland and much of the abundance of America astounded her.   As we stood in the entry to this most amazing store, she grabbed my arm and whispered, “oh…my….we have NOTHING like this in MY country!”  I was completely overwhelmed as well.  I remember clutching hands as I uttered…”oh my…I didn’t know we had anything like this in MY country either!” 

We finally composed ourselves and did a little shopping in the truly amazing store.  Not only was it huge, but it seemed to have EVERYTHING that ANYONE could EVER want.  Varieties from around the globe.  Items I could not pronounce…nor had I a clue how to use them. It was truly exciting. I think it was in that moment that I realized how much I was affected by the creative possibilities of food. I will  never forget that grocery store and sometimes I find myself wondering whatever happened to Vinka…

 Nowadays, I get all sorts of ideas for our own business on my trips to the grocery store.  There are new foods, new varieties and new preparation suggestions. While we may not be able to grow many of the exotic varieties, we can benefit from some creative input.

Exciting products and innovative ideas are everywhere.  Packaging ideas and marketing strategies can be inspirational if you go into the grocery store with an open mind.
Although, I must admit, some of the stuff I would never, ever purchase (or attempt to sell) and some has been very badly handled on its way to the shelf. I guess there are lessons to be learned in how NOT to do things, too. 
now, this is just sad looking squash!

I also find myself wondering over items I’ve never heard of…from places I’ve never been.  …and to think there’s a farmer (or farmers) out there somewhere growing those interesting and exotic fruits and vegetables.
I have no idea what some of these things are
or what you might do with them!

How fascinating! Often, I will do a little research about products when I get home.  Yes, you can learn a lot in the grocery store! 

I actually look forward to shopping day.  There is always the possibility of a food adventure!


  1. I love food shopping too Barbara, and I get great pleasure from using up all the ingredients which I buy, so that nothing goes to waste. There is nothing worse than that.

    1. I hate to waste food, too. On the occasion that the leftovers get away from me, the chickens get to eat them. They seem to consider that a treat!