"I feel like we are committing adultery," said Jeff as we walked into Toscano's on Saturday. I knew exactly what he meant. We were entering an orgy of middle-class mothers squeezed into a respectable Kew shop front. And the feeling was compounded when we bumped into the parents of a friend of mine. "I didn't know you shopped here!" they exclaimed.
"It's our first time," I said weakly. "We normally go to Greythorn."
Toscano's is an institution of the leafy eastern Melbourne suburbs, a hugely popular large green grocery store that combines fine produce with reasonable prices. It is always full and always bursting with parents with prams and toddlers and smug little smiles because they know they are buying from the best value best quality fruit and vegetable store in Melbourne. It is insufferable. Jeff and I love good quality fruit and vegetables but we can't stand crowds, especially not smug-faced 4WD driving middle-class parents - hence we normally shopped at a smaller local store with friendly staff. But over the past few months the quality had been dropping and the prices had been rising. We had no choice. We had to find another option. Earlier that day we had tried the supposed Farmers' Market, but found the choice fairly limited. Hence Toscano's.
I wish I could say that the produce was no better than Greythorn; that the prices weren't lower - but I can't. There was a huge choice. Everything was of excellent quality. The prices were reasonable. The fruit and veggies fresh and tasty. No wonder the place was overflowing with people. It was surely worth 30 minutes of jostling with crowds and we would be foolish to not return next week.
I just wish I didn't feel so dirty for changing green grocer stores.