Smells like a proper Greengrocers

As I walked down our High street the other day the smell of tar hit my hooter and took me right back to being a kid in the late 70s early 80s. The smell was coming from a flat roof being repaired but to me I was suddenly a 10 year old boy again!

I grew up in North West London in a place called Dollis Hill which is in between Neasden and Cricklewood. N.W London is most famous, for Camden, Baker St and Wembley and is definitely NOT North London as you will often hear it described on a news report or by a sports commentator.

I can feel Shelly’s eyes rolling as she reads this as she will often hear the cry of “It’s not North London!!!!” Bellowing from the living room when I’m watching the box.

As I said I grew up in Dollis Hill, a big Irish area but it was mixed with people from all over the world. It was an industrial area which had fallen into decline so there were a lot of abandoned warehouses and industrial estates.

Which was a perfect playground for a 10 year old, his younger brother and their mates!

It was also a good place to park independently owned tippers, you know the lorries that carry earth and hardcore away from the building sites. Well these were our climbing frames and many of them had been used for tarmac, so the burnt sticky remains were still in them, which our mums loved, all over our jeans and shoes, so that smell takes me right back to that time.

Food seems to be one of those smells that can also do this, the smell of roasting chestnuts takes me back to the street vendors selling them on Oxford St during the Christmas period.

Strawberries remind me of the big carts full of berries being sold on a London High Street during the summer season and fish frying always reminds me of me Nan cooking it on a Friday in her small kitchen.

So I love to hear when people come into our shop and say to one another “smells like a proper Greengrocers” and I know that they are being transported to a place and time only they knew, in a mini mind time machine and it always makes me smile.

I also love it when kids come into the shop with their mums and dads, I like to make a fuss of them, as it might make a point in time in their minds in the future, when they smell a Greengrocers they are taken back to a Harris tweed hatted, mustachioed fool searching for the stickers on the fruit to add to the never ending till display.

Because my friends that type of thing makes me happy and as long as I’m happy all is good!


Vegetarians and Vegans are a Greengrocers Best Friend!


A Greengrocers is a Vegetarian and Vegan shop!!!!

Most of us Meat eaters wouldn’t think of it like that but it’s true. I have recently been searching out other Greengrocers on Instagram 1. To share ideas and get ideas from and 2. For a bit of support and to give support to others as sometimes it can feel like you’re the only one trying to keep this ancient trade alive!

They have also confirmed to me what I have thought for a long time now. Many Greengrocers are evolving into a one stop shop for Vegans and Vegetarians.

It totally make sense, the Veggies and Vegans that shop in our shop spend the most money, mainly because Fruit and Veg is so cheap compared to meat, so they can afford to buy the best. So now many Greengrocers are starting to stock grains, beans, pulses, plant based alternative milks such as Almond milk, Oatly etc.

With meat becoming more expensive (and lets face most us can only afford chicken these days) Celebrity Chefs such as Jamie Oliver have caught onto the Instagram foodies such as @hemsleyhemsley @rawveganblonde and @deliciouslyella way of thinking. In Jamie’s latest TV series Superfood fruit and veg seem to be the main star of the show.

This is a sea change from the snarling and mickey taking of past celebrity chefs towards vegetarianism and veganism. As a non veggie half of my meals a week are probably veggie if not vegan. Ok this might have something to do with my wife being a vegetarian but also I’ve learnt that a meal doesn’t have to contain meat to be enjoyed.

I’ve never got the petty contempt on both sides the Meat vs Vegetarian and Vegan argument. Ok from the veggies/vegan side of things it’s about compassion for Animals which drives them but surely it’s better to communicate rather than isolate the meat eaters, and the Meat eaters……………… well you haven’t got any reason to dislike a Vegetarian or Vegan what difference does it make to you unless one’s coming to dinner.

The truth is us meat eaters better get used to the veggies/vegan way of thinking cos its growing in popularity due to health reasons, meat scares and the rising price of meat, we will all be eating more veggie dishes in the future.

This can be seen by the rise of vegetarian/vegan eating establishments in our towns and cities these a few years back would never have survived but now they are flourishing! Near to where I live in Colchester, a Vegan Cafe opened up The Den at twenty three the first of its kind in the area.

I’ve been there a few times and its bloody lovely and that’s the key to get us non vegans/vegetarians through the door and show us how good this food is and that you don’t have to be a vegan or vegetarian to eat there, good food is good food!

I suppose what I’m saying is that maybe the Greengrocer isn’t an old fashion way of doing things maybe its the new way of doing things. A dog that’s learnt a new trick, I certainly hope so! So why not try a veggie/vegan dish even if its only once a week what harm could it do?!?!