Ever since I studied in Florence I have had an appreciation for shopping. (Not the designer shopping Italy is known for, I was a freshman in college who had recently had my wallet pick pocketed… a true traveler lesson.) I fell in love with food shopping! They really do it right, grocery shop for your daily needs at the fruit stand, then head to the butcher and then the baker. Everyone greets you warmly with a “Ciao Bella!”, what a way to start your day! It took me a bit to figure out this new schedule. The first week I wondered where everyone was on my way home from class, the whole town seemed to have vanished – they had vanished to their beds or couches for siesta. Only to reopen the stores in the early evening but after I had already come home. It’s a beautiful concept.
To this day I love to grocery several times week for fresh ingredients. I go to Pick n Save for everyday items,Trader Joe’s for some, Outpost for others, and Costco for the haul. I love it. I know people hate it and I know why. They, maybe its you too, have to do your shopping on the weekends…with the masses. I would dread it too. Luckily for me, my schedule allows me to shop during weekday. Thank goodness. And also luckily, I discovered Pete’s Fruit Market. Have you heard of it? Let me tell you it’s worth a field trip! Just like Pacific Produce if you haven’t ventured there yet. I was given a coupon at the Woman’s Up event this past February and decided to check it out. I mean, I had a coupon!
It’s a bit out of the way, just past Greenfield and Cesar E Chavez at 1400 South Union Street. Wyatt, my 15 month old in tow, bounced right along to the Mexican jams playing while sipping on a $4.50 fresh 16oz. green juice we picked up. Pete’s is not a huge store but it does have huge deals. Stick with the produce and avoid the dairy and aisle items. For some reason those prices were pretty high. In the middle of the store you will find baskets of fruit and veggies at discounted prices. These are on their way out. The first time I went hit the jacket pot. I inspected the items not seeing anything wrong with them and took a basket full of large lemons, another with 15 cucumbers, another with apples, and one with pepper all for $3 a piece. It was amazing! When I got home I skinned and chopped the lemons and cucumbers to freeze for later green smoothies. What a deal! I am still pulling these from the freezer. And after a disappointing winter of mealy apples I was relieved to have found some of the best I had had in months.
The second time I didn’t walk away with quality of haul as the first. But still some great finds. They are known to have the best avocados in town and some different fruit/veggie items than your neighborhood Pig. So it really depends when you go, but I still think it’s worth the adventure. It’s important to switch it up and get out of ruts. Especially with food and food shopping. It is also a store that values bringing good food to the community: Pete’s Fruit Market has invited CORE/El Centro and the University of Wisconsin Extension, Milwaukee County to formally partner in developing and utilizing three vacant lots for urban agriculture and community education. This is a tremendous opportunity to improve the quality of life in our community by connecting residents to gardening resources, nutrition and local food education while also growing healthy and accessible fruits and vegetables to sell affordably at Pete’s and local farmers’ markets. I can feel good about supporting that. And don’t forget to sip on a fresh juice, with nice additions like cactus, while bopping to the tunes.
Steeped in Your Journey,