One of the first things we did, once we were on our feet again after our trip here, was to shop for a few groceries. We are staying with a family in Tauranga, but we are responsible for most of our own meals and rather like it that way: I love shopping for food in a new place. It’s a learning experience and it’s lots of fun, too. Here are a few photos and observations from our first grocery-shopping trip.
Oh by the way . . . you don’t have to wear shoes here. Anyplace. At any time. Kiwis are seen barefoot in church, at the grocery store, everywhere. So you know my kids—every chance they get, they go barefoot. So recently we went barefoot to the grocery store, just because we could.
Nearly all the fresh veg and fruits are products of New Zealand. Everybody is a locovore here. Of course it’s easy to do, when you can raise your own bananas and citrus, kiwi fruits, grapes and nearly everything else too, in your back yard if you have a mind to.
These grapes, for example, are growing on a trellis above the patio of the home where we are staying.
When the soil and climate are so ideal that you can grow this kind of lovely fruit at home with very little effort (besides throwing a net over it to protect it from the birds) you wouldn’t even have to go to the grocery store store very often, it seems to me. 🙂
You know, gentle readers, I’d plant more than I knew what to do with, too. (Why would my life in paradise be any different from my life in Nebraska?) 😉 I want so badly to make jelly out of the extra grapes for the folks we are staying with , but finding jars has been a puzzlement. Amalia and I checked out a couple of shops yesterday for them, but we haven’t found any yet. My astute daught made the observation that with such a long and abundant growing season, who would need to can anything? You can eat fresh year round, from your garden and yard!
Oh yeah. Whatta place.
Winters in New Zealand are not long, and–in the North island, at least, where we are staying–rarely dip below freezing. They get a lot of rain here.
Here’s a side note, before I even get to the grocery store: as the kids and I go on walks in the residential neighborhood where we are staying, we see fruit growing in nearly every yard: orange trees, lemon trees, limes too, avocado trees, passionfruit vines, kiwifruit vines, blueberry bushes, olive trees, and much more. It’s funny–when I’m at home and I see a fruit tree with lots of wasted fruit on the ground beneath it, I really have to fight the urge to slip in there and pick it all up (after asking for permission, natch!). So walking past an orange tree in somebody’s yard, beautiful big oranges on the ground underneath it, and not just slipping in there and cleaning them all up . . . it’s tough to hold myself back, I promise. I have seen a lot of enterprising homeowners with signs on the fence: “Plums for sale” or “Avos–cheap.”
I guess it’s pretty difficult to use up the bushels and bushels of avocados that an avocado tree will produce in a season. (Think of it. All–that–guacamole–!!) 🙂
So. We have visited three different food venues, so far, since we’ve been here. We have been to the big grocery store–“New World”–a couple of times. This is a big, beautiful store and we can get nearly everything we need here—fresh bread, eggs, butter, milk, produce, fresh meats and fish. It’s a beautiful place. 🙂
Nearly all the fresh veg and fruits are products of New Zealand.
There are a few exceptions, of course. The Tongan islands are not far from New Zealand, for example. About the only fresh items we saw that didn’t come from New Zealand were coconuts, pineapples, and ginger root (from Thailand). Oh, and Mack spotted citrus “from the USA” yesterday, right next to the New Zealand-grown citrus. I don’t know why anybody would buy oranges from the USA for $6.00/kg, when you can buy New Zealand oranges for $4.00/kg, though.
All the milk produced here, as far as I can tell, comes from small herds of pastured cattle. I’ve only been in a small area of the North island so far, but I’ve not seen a single animal confinement operation, or a large muddy feedlot. Animals all seem to be raised humanely.
The cows look happy.
All the dairy products that I’ve sampled–cheese, milk, cream, ice cream (in great quantities, thanks to Amalia’s resolve to eat ice cream every day she is here in New Zealand)–has been very creamy and delicious.
Meat pies are big here.
Fresh fruits factor in many things–and there are some new flavors–like rhubarb ‘n’ custard yogurt! Yum!
There are many products here that we eat, just with different flavors–like this hummus with beetroot and roasted garlic. Does it sound good to you?
There are plenty of new flavors to explore that I find irresistible. For example, check out these sodas: “Sparkling Elderflower,” “Elderflower and Green Currant,” “Sparkling Rhubarb,” “Ginger, Lemon and Honey,” and so on. Fun, huh?
Even the pastries are fun to try. Here are some savory “scrolls” in flavors that we are determined to try: one not pictured is “bacon and pickle.” Yum, yum.
They make such delicious creamy ice cream here, and there is a “dairy” on nearly every street, where you can buy milk and a few groceries and of course ice cream by the scoop. You can also go to the grocery store and buy it to take home. Here’s one of our favorite flavors, “Hokey Pokey.” It’s a “classic Kiwi fave,” apparently.
Oh gentle readers, I could go on and on! And usually, I do 😉 but my time on the ‘pooter is limited here–so I’ll post this now and perhaps can do a part 2 later on the food here. There’s so much to share.
Thanks for checking in–
I love ya, I do!
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