endearing initiative

I wasn’t even planning to write again about Swedish vegetable freshness, but this is just too sweet.

I trust that my writings have made the big supermarket in the next village, the Bolle, world famous. It is actually a good shop, reasonably spacious, well-equipped and with a cheerful leadership that attracts cheerful employees. They also have a healthy approach to keeping the shop – as a whole – fresh and attractive.

The latest initiative was to spruce up the steamy vegetable vault with large color posters showing super-size photographs of veggies of various kinds. These are lined up along the ceiling above the goods themselves in an attractive recurring pattern. They must be intended to form an appetizing barrier when we, in despair, lift our gaze once again to the skies because we stumbled upon a bunch of bashed-up tomatoes, a mound of Jivaro cabbages, chestnut-brown celery stalks or some green moldy organic lemons.

Over-sized, succulent squash – hmmmm. Now that’s photography! We forget about that sad, dripping, over-priced package in our hands and we turn our heads in anticipation towards the next huge and appetizing picture.

Broccoli, massive as Baobab trees. Yum. Enormous florets. One of them, pretty much in the center of the picture, is bright yellow and just as drooping and far gone as the ones down in the counter. Beautiful color contrast. It is like reading a good novel: we wisely nod our heads and sigh, “yes, this feels so true, just as in real life, but bigger, sort of.”

Honestly, I love the Bolle. But I will look into buying a little greenhouse.


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3 Responses to “endearing initiative”

  1. Tess Says:

    I grew up in Upper Michigan—the part of Michigan that is not the famous mitten– it pokes out into Lake Superior like a scar—and which has snow and ice for 7 months of a year. It’s the appendix of the US: not on the way to anywhere else for truckers. It just sort of makes do with what shows up, for no apparent reason. Mushrooms were dark and oozing; (that meant they were ripe. Hmm, better buy canned!). Apricots and peaches were “tropical fruit” and only available as stone hard fruit that turned brown and mushy so we knew they were ripe.

    If you are not exaggerating, then it’s no wonder there were so many Finns and Swedes, and other senseless folk were/are there. (I am a descendant of Finns.) It seemed like home to them.

    Surely you jest about modern Sweden?

    One caution about an urban greenhouse/hoop/raised bed: deer have become urban pests. I live in-town, but they ate my peas, chard, and are now starting on the tomatoes…

  2. skowroneck Says:

    I jest only in so far as there usually is some way left to buy yourself around the more disgusting items on display.
    This isn’t ancient Scandinavia any more, which may have resembled the Upper Peninsula in many ways. Trucks do come here, and the variety of goods is great. It is just that nobody seems to know how to securely select them.
    The massive brown avocado heap yesterday made us turn away in despair: how is it possible that a shop even buys so many of them if they consistently are first unsellable and then, after days and days, have become too ripe for use…
    Haven’t come further north in Mi. than Traverse City, in the summer. They had cherries then…

  3. Ibo Says:

    I agree with Tilman.

    We returned from vacation early July. Returning from a country in Europe’s very south(east) where gardens and markets seem to burst from sun ripe and tasty products to Sweden is certainly not the part of the return one might look forward too. But returning in beginning of July means also to be totally out of synch, because the majority of swedish populatiuon goes on vacation beginning of July and returns after 4-5 weeks in August. A certain percentage remains home for various, partly obvious reasons (some people have to keep running Sweden…).

    The effect of being out-of-synch is especially noticable in grocery shops (aka super markets) is that even the larger ones (uh, small super markets…): Both the little choice of fresh goods is reduced greatly and even less care is taken about the actual freshness of goods.
    Grossing out encounters of rotten potatoes, mouldy onions &ca were daily occurence for about 4 weeks. Now that the vacation season has ended, things return to normality, which is only improvement by degree:the encounters with with vegetables having passed there best before are not daily but may be 5-daily or weekly: Still way too often.

    In the big market chains the reduced workforce doesn’t seem to have time (not speaking of nobody cares) to go through the supply of goods and take the rotten stuff away.
    What is not rotting are the dutch water bombs (aka tomatoes, cucumbers).

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