I was bought low a few weeks ago when I found out my beloved greengrocer, Terry’s of Upchurch, were closing. I can honestly say that my cycle through the lanes to the neighbouring village to shop there had been a highlight of every week. Not only was the cycle healthy and I felt I was ticking many green boxes by not taking the car and shopping local but I got to know the shopkeepers.
Each week we had a chat and a laugh and, for someone who works for themselves, such contact can be a highly useful support system. The food was excellent too. Local fruit and veg, sometimes so local that Terry went and pulled it out of his garden and I received it sprinkled in dirt with snails still chomping on it. I loved this, far rather a few snails than something sprayed in chemicals, clinically wrapped in cellophane and imported from a far flung outpost.
I was so so sad to see this shop, which had existed in the village for 40 years, close. Tina told me how the mums used to come to collect their kids from school and queue for their veg, now they jumped into 4×4’s and headed for the supermarket. Terry’s health was bad, it was hard work to get the food back from the market, long hours, no holiday, little financial reward. There son didn’t want to take over and so they were retiring and shutting up.
For weeks I have had a hole where this shop had been. The greengrocer in my own town had long since closed and the local farm shop, where I had once gone, had given over it’s shelf space to luxury jam and biscuits with actual real ingredients reduced to a small and highly expensive selection.
Then today I saw a sign. I must have passed it many times but it pointed an arrow to local veg and free range eggs. I followed the arrow, down a country lane and there it was. Grange Farm Shop. Inside was a great selection of local, free range veg, loose and not tied in annoying bundles of ten or sealed in yet more plastic. The greengrocer took my order. He had a chat, he threw in a free comice pair which he said I should try. I can cycle along the river to get there. Goodbye ASDA, TESCO and all other supermarket plastic wrapped veggies, my life is a little brighter once more.
Support your local veggie shop. You wont regret it.