Tuesday, 20 February 2018

mshavachat discovers a traditional fruit and veggie stall

Open for business

A week or so ago, someone posted on a Facebook community page 'just back from fresh fruit and veggie stall at Hilliers' with a photo. The first thing I noticed was the majority of the produce was loose, ie: no plastic wrapping.

For the past few months, the media and online chatter has been elevated, educating us about the amount of single-use plastic taking it's toll on  environment and encouraging alternatives.

When you see images like this, you know we
have to do something!

As a result, I've been paying more attention to the amount of plastic and other unnecessary packaging we discard each time we arrive home after the supermarket, or other shopping (and we don't do that much shopping). Businesses have pledged to stop offering single-use-plastic straws, supermarkets are no longer offering free plastic shopping bags and charge for them while offering canvass or recycled plastic shopping bags (I am very proud of my collection of bags from each place we've lived).

The UK supermarkets wrap practically EVERY piece of fruit and vegetable in some form of plastic - from placing them on trays and sealing in plastic, to shrink wrapping cucumber and lettuce. As there's only 3 of us in our household, each with their preference to certain fruits and veggies, it's difficult to buy small amounts of anything, so we either do without or waste things.

With heightening awareness, we were filling the rubbish bin at home with plastic wrapping and trays each time we returned from the supermarket. I started to notice the amount of single-use-plastic bottles we have in the house - shampoo, condition, deodorant, soap, dishwashing liquid, laundry liquid, various sauces in the pantry, milk, pretty much all my cosmetics - the list goes on.

Are you feeling helpless yet?
Are you looking around your house, noticing maybe for the first time the amount of single-use-plastic there is?
Does it bother you?
What alternatives are there?

One thing I can instantly regain control over, is less plastic simply by shopping with Martin Lamb and his family at their Traditional Fruit and Veg Stall at Hilliers Garden Centre on the A30 in Windlesham! It reminded me of my local fruit shop we went to practically daily as a kid.

I was SO EXCITED to find a 'real' fruit and veggie stall/shop, that I introduced myself, explained I blog, and asked if I could write about them. I felt the overwhelming need to share and spread the word.

Martin Lamb started house to house deliveries of fruit and veggies in 1976, and established his first retail outlet in 1987 as a result of his professional relationship with growers and wholesalers at Covent Gardens markets. At the same time, their wholesale business supplying hotels, restaurants, pubs etc continued to grow and they knew that with the right mix, they'd be able to continue their own business as well as support the local growers who had come to depend on them.

Martin Lamb (left) and son

Like most small, independently owned small-medium business the world over, the rise of the supermarket quickly over took them, and in 1994 the retail business closed. With a healthy wholesale business, they were able to keep going ........ and reinvented themselves. In 1994, they started holding a mobile stall at Hilliers Garden Centre on Wednesday and Saturdays, and at Odeum (Fleet/Farnborough) on Fridays.

The produce is sourced from local farmers (which is super important these days) in the area and at Covent Gardens markets. I love the buy local shop local mantra in action and am very happy to support it.

The fact that most of the produce is sold loose, means that no matter how many or how few you need to feed, you can buy the exact amount you want! I'm finding the little and often mantra is paying off already - no wastage!

Check out the produce! 

When was the last time you saw this?
Mushrooms last longer in paper bags.

A real cash register!
And scales!
Memories of childhood.

One of the customers, MrsP from West End said, she loves shopping here because ' the friendliness and service is second to none. The quality of produce too' and I couldn't agree more!

So of you're in the area, drop by and tell them ms-havachat sent you, and take cash (no credit/debit card facilities)

With friendship

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