Food a status symbol?

The world is full of status symbols, from what car you have, to how big your TV is, or what Mobile phone you sport, but food always seems to be way down that list for most people. Take the car for instance, we buy more brand new cars than ever before and why?

Because we can get them on the Never Never (The Never Never when you pay for something but you never actually own it) for only £250 P/M and make everyone think its yours. The must have 60inch energy guzzling TV to watch our expensive satellite TV channels on. We all do it and its not a bad thing to have aspiration its what drives us on.

So where does food come into our aspirations? What with the rise of the low frill supermarkets it seems to come low on the list of must haves. We drive to these German supermarkets in flashy German cars to buy cheap food. Yeah I know it sounds crazy right but that’s what we do?!?

So how do they do it? Well as a Greengrocer the Fruit and Veg is what I focused on straight away, its so cheap that I can’t even buy it that cheap at the market. So how do they do it, well it has a name and its called a ‘loss leader’ which Wikipedia describes as –

A loss leader (also leader) is a pricing strategy where a product is sold at a price below its market cost to stimulate other sales of more profitable goods or services. With this sales promotion/marketing strategy, a “leader” is used as a related term.

So they sell their fruit and veg at a loss. Now where’s the harm in that I hear you say! Well the Supermarkets won’t be harmed, the Farmer maybe, but I doubt it. Someones got to pay somewhere along the line.

Well the people who must pay, must be us. Like the guys and girls who pick the fruit and veg they are on low income and small shops like ours becomes less busy. Or New Spitalfields market (which employ hundreds of people) start closing it’s stalls, as they can’t sell the product wholesale as cheap as the supermarkets are selling it for!


Also for me it really devalues food as a whole, so we don’t hold it in high enough regard. What we put into our bodies and feed our families should be the highest of all of the status symbols.

So lets all stop shopping at supermarkets. NO! I shop in them it’s part of the modern world now as they also create loads of jobs and are needed. You just need know what they are doing and shop smart.

We don’t have to only shop in them, lets spread the money around, maybe start by getting your weekend meals from you local independent shops, its better quality than you’ll find in a supermarket because the distribution chain is shorter, ie the produce gets to you fresher and quicker.

I know time can be a factor in our busy lives, but if you can spend a couple of hours zombieing (as Shelly calls it) around a supermarket then an hours shopping in the smaller shops on the high street is nothing and I guarantee you it will be a much more pleasant experience.

So why not try it this weekend and then boast about it to your friends about how you’ve found this lovely little shop because Food is a status symbol after all.


Recipe of the week!

My Wife (Shelly) is a vegetarian which makes sense when owning a Greengrocers, although people still find this strange, when I think it’s much stranger that I’m not!

Although at times I’m a vegetarian by proxy and that’s how this simple dish was born.

Us British love our Indian dishes so this dish is a veggie tip of the hat to them.

Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 Large Sweet potatoes
1 Bunch of coriander
2 Teaspoons of curry powder
4 Teaspoons of mango chutney
A pinch of black pepper

Bake or microwave your sweet potato until soft, sweet pots don’t take as long to cook as regular pots so don’t over cook it. Let them cool until you can handle them, cut them long ways and scoop out the flesh (keeping the skin in tact for refilling) into a bowl and mash.

To this bowl add the chopped coriander, curry powder, pepper and mango chutney and mix together. When all mixed up refill the skins with the mixture and bake for a further 15 mins or until reheated. Ta Da Curried Sweet potatoes.

They are AWESOME with poppadoms and if you like your food a bit spicy add some chillies or whatever you like, it’s about eating good food that you like.

No Rules apart from keep it fresh!

For a video on how to make go to

Got any Courgettes???

That’s a question that has been bouncing round many greengrocers this week. The simple answer is No! What with the bad weather hitting Spain, courgettes, aubergines and spinach have all been on the missing list this week and this got us thinking, is this the future?

With Britain’s exit (at some point) from the European Union this could become the norm, well when I say the norm I doubt £25 for a 5kg box of courgettes will ever become the norm even when we do leave. So what do we do? Well maybe we the consumers need to have a rethink in what we are consuming.

I mean does it make sense eating courgettes, aubergines and spinach in January when we have perfectly good UK grown produce, bang in season and cheap! We all have an in-built database of ‘go to’ dishes, such as a pasta dish with courgettes and peppers, ratatouille or cottage pie etc so do we now have to treat this database also like our wardrobes?

We have a summer one and a winter one, not many people dig out the shorts and flip-flops in January, so why do we cook a summer dish in winter and vice versa!?? The wardrobe way is a much cheaper option and you’re getting the produce at it’s very best. If you’re not sure what’s in season there’s a great website this gives you a week by week, month by month update of what is in season.

You can’t go wrong!

Take the humble Brussels Sprout, they are at their very best now, yet after Christmas most of us forget about them, you don’t often see food bloggers or TV chefs mention them after the festive period. Yet they’re cheap, local and bloody good for you. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K so a perfect start for your January health kick.

There is also my favourite the Red Cabbage or as Shelly pointed out it should be called purple cabbage as it is purple after all. This beauty is so versatile you can have it raw, braised, pickled with fruit in a kebab or with a roast dinner or even in a sandwich I could go on but best of all its available throughout the year and its from the UK.

Not only is it good for you it’s a beautiful veg, amazing inside and lasts for weeks in your fridge. Also Red cabbage is rich in antioxidants, including anthocyanins and it’s an ideal weight loss aid as red cabbage is very low in calories, but high in dietary fibre it’s a win win!

What I suppose I’m trying to say it’s about time we had more confidence in our own produce, this country has come a long since the rest of Europe rightly so dismissed our cooking, we have since absorbed all of the world’s different types of food and become really great at reproducing it. But now we need to start taking it to the next level by using our own seasonal veg and show the world what we have to offer.

So ditch the out of season stuff that’s going to cost you an arm and a leg and find dishes closer to home, that use red cabbage, beetroot, brussels sprouts, celeriac or purple sprouting broccoli and who knows maybe in the future the Spanish greengrocers will be hearing the question Tienes repollo rojo?

Translation: have you any red cabbage?

I’m a dangerous man……

Yes I know that’s not the normal way to start a blog but I really am. I have the ability to talk so passionately and convincingly about stuff that I can make people believe I know what I’m talking about. Like the time I talked my wife into taking over a failed Greengrocers.

I was working in a IT recycling plant earning a safe wage just plodding along. Shelly (My wife) was looking after our two kids whilst also working a part time job. I have always enjoyed cooking and food and we were lucky enough to live in a place which boasts a Butchers, Bakers, Greengrocers and at that time a fishmongers but as we all know the pressure on indie shops is huge.

With three big chain shops in the town of Brightlingsea (population 10,000 ish) the Greengrocers we had in town succumbed to the pressure along with the fishmongers a few years later. So like I said I’m a dangerous man and a dangerous thought began to surface in my mind.

“I wonder how much the rent on that Greengrocers is????” Shelly looks at me, I’m sure she knew what was coming next, but she goes with it. “Why?” “I just think a Greengrocers would work in this town, with the right people” Shelly at this point knew who I thought the right people might be.

This may not be the exact way of events, but you can get the gist of it. A few days later Shelly had organised a meeting with the previous owners (with our then 3yr old daughter in tow) the landlord and somehow does a deal on the rent and buy’s the fixtures and fitting lock stock and barrel.

Now you would of thought I might have had some idea as to how you go about running and stocking a greengrocers from a family trade or some kind of experience. Well No, at this point in time I had no idea. I was later to find out my Family had weirdly been in the trade but that’s a another story.

So by now we have a shop so all we have to do is Open it yeah. Oh did I mention this was three weeks before Christmas the busiest time of year for any greengrocers, as I said I’m a dangerous man.

We were either very lucky or very bold and we picked the brains of the previous owners and they kindly introduced us to a guy who worked at New Spitalfields Market and he has continued to this day to be our guide to the weird and wonderful world of wholesale Fruit and Veg.

So I toodle of to work, as I’m still working full time at this point and leave my poor wife with a shop full of stock, a till and some weighing scales, three weeks before Christmas with two young kids?!?! Whoever came up with the phrase ‘the weaker sex’ has never met my wife because 5 years later that little shop supports our family and we believe it’s truly an asset to our town.

We also have a fairly successful Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube pages, so now it’s time for a blog. So we hope you’ll enjoy our passion for Fruit and Veg and great food as much as we do and even if it isn’t a much read blog at least our kids can read about how their Dad is a dangerous man and their Mum is a marvel.

Welcome to Bumbles…….