Love My Fruit And Veggies Guy…When I’m Not Avoiding Him

written by Tiana Kai
Local Grocer in Florence Italy

Ah, Americans love shopping at Publix or Whole Foods once a month…once a year if there were preservatives squirted in the veggies! Am I right?

When I lived in Boulder for a year I always looked forward to shopping at the farmers market on Saturdays with my yoga mat strapped to my back. On other days I would shop at Whole Foods and what was once Sunflower probably 2-3 times a month.

First off, I lived alone so didn’t need much. Secondly, I worked at CP+B ad agency, meaning I was never home! And thirdly, when I wasn’t working I was in the mountains. My Colorado lifestyle didn’t require much food in my house, but when I cooked anything it was mainly veggies and predominately organic.

Now, in Florence I shop even more frequently. It’s become habit and it’s a great excuse to go for a walk and do some bicep curls on my way home with celery and parsley hanging out of my bags.


My grocery habit took a sudden turn the day my palette noticed the huge difference between an Esselunga (grocery store chain) clementine and an Ortofrutta (local veggie guy) clementine.

I felt robbed. The Esselunga’s clementine tasted uh bleh. Boring. The mouth on it was not juicy nor tender. The sweet factor was also lacking. It felt like it was picked off the tree way too prematurely. That’s when I knew I would never buy most fruit from them anymore.

This also happened with tomatoes. Utter disappointment because now I’m forced to buy mainly yogurt and wine at the grocery store, minimizing the rewards points I can accumulate to win a crappy stuffed animal.

My local veggie guy’s where it’s at AND a block away is the butcher. Score!

Initially I bought from Gigi my veggie guy and butcher very rarely because whenever I needed to buy food I also needed tp, q-tips, tampons, soap, chicken, wine and such that they don’t sell.

Now, the few times I go to Esselunga or Coop I make sure that Gigi doesn’t see me run in my building between the bicep curls. He must know his customers shop at other stores, but it’s something I don’t want to rub in his face.

Sometimes I feel like just running over to him, whipping out the bottle of wine and saying “I only bought wine! Their fruit sucks, so don’t worry!

Instead I just try to avoid him until I need a hit of clementines.

What are your grocery habits? Online shopping, local markets, large chains? Any local guys you you try to avoid when shopping at big chains?

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gillian mcguire February 10, 2014 at 7:31 pm

It’s so true! I take a convoluted route home when I cheat on my fruttavendolo.

Tiana Kai February 10, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Haha, I love how we all fall victim to this! My ortofrutta guy is so amazing. I also feel guilty if I don’t go often enough!

Dario O February 12, 2014 at 3:40 am

Why are you people feeling guilty at all? I buy my produce from a very nice elderly couple who run a little market that is open on a little street in Rome from early morning until around 1pm. I walk buy them every day and we chat, but I only buy from them about 2 or 3 times a week. It is right near the Despar, which I walk right in and out of without shame.

Tiana Kai February 12, 2014 at 10:37 am

Same here Dario, I see my ortofrutta guy when I’m just walking by running errands. I don’t think he’ll throw a tomato at me although that would be funny.

Dario O February 12, 2014 at 1:39 pm

A free tomato!

Dario O February 12, 2014 at 1:40 pm

That reminds me, every time I buy tomatoes she throws in a bunch of basil for free.

Cat of Sunshine and Siestas February 11, 2014 at 12:13 pm

EW I would never buy from a Barca fan! Just kidding. I have a bread man and a fruit man, but since the enormous and cheap supermarket is literally a three- minute walk from my door, convenience takes precedence most days.

Tiana Kai February 11, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Ya, same as the States, but I’ve noticed that I frequent each place more often…and god forbid I offend anyone here— that would be the end of my fresh clementine addiction!

Dario O February 11, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Take a deep breath, it’s not all about you. “When you’re inside your mind you’re behind enemy lines” Old AA quote.

Tiana Kai February 11, 2014 at 9:40 pm

This is my blog, so who else should it be about? 😉

Dario O February 12, 2014 at 3:35 am

I am trying to encourage you to not be so paranoid about what people think of you. I am sure he doesn’t notice where you have been shopping. If you think he has the best produce, buy from him. If you find it easier to buy your staples from the supermarket, buy them there. It is your choice, don’t worry about anyone else’s opinion, who probably has more important things to worry about.

Tiana Kai February 12, 2014 at 10:35 am

Thanks for the clarity Dario. This post was meant to be funny. I guess since you may not know me you thought I was being extremely serious, oops!

Jennifer Avventura February 11, 2014 at 6:55 pm

I thought I was the only one who did bicep curls on the way home from the market! Ha. Great post. I don’t shop at large brand supermarkets, I prefer to buy locally.

Tiana Kai February 11, 2014 at 9:41 pm

And if I can I try to work the triceps, which is a more awkward manoeuvre on the street!

Becky Padmore February 21, 2014 at 11:44 am

You can’t beat locally produced veggies (and the guys that sell it)! 😉

Tiana Kai February 21, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Ha, ya, there is nothing better then getting produce from the same zipcode!

Living in Italy, how to do it the right way! August 7, 2014 at 11:36 pm

[…] there’s an Orto Frutta market across my building and I’m afraid to say it, but I didn’t go there much until after a […]


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