My shopping routine

Let’s talk about my normal shopping routines. One of the reasons we chose to live in a town was so we could walk to do our everyday errands. If you live in Umbertide Centro, like we do, you can easily walk to 2 bakeries, 4 butchers, and two supermarkets. (Plus 3 gelato shops 😋) Also our doctors and dentists, a hospital, banks, the post office, etc

Saturday market and my haul from last week.

Normally I shop the weekly markets that come to town on Wednesday and Saturday for all of my produce. I buy most of my meat at one of the four butchers. Bread comes from the nearby bakery. And other things, like cleaning products, flour, sugar, milk etc I get from our close local market, the Conad. It is small but has most things. Then there is Angelo’s Alementari. It is in our building and very convenient for many things. Pasta, prosciutto, cheeses, and most staples are in his store – plus he is a great guy.

There are also a number of chain supermarkets in our town. The Coop shopping chain has good prices and sales, it is a cooperative which you can join for savings, and the quality can’t be beat. We have one in Umbertide, the biggest store here. The Conad is comparable – there are 2 in town, one (smaller) in walking distance. The A&O is in walking distance and has good produce and prices. The EuroSpin is the least expensive with real deals but quirky. Farther afield is the IperCoop. It is huge, much like a Walmart with clothes and most things you’d need. I can find things like tortillas, Helmans mayo, French mustards, black beans, Asian ingredients etc there. We go about once a month. All the chain supermarkets offer good sales monthly.

Little supermarket near us. Conad.

Love our butcher. I’ve never met an Italian who didn’t like his picture taken! He quick grabbed that cleaver and posed for me 🙂

But sometimes we want to do special shopping trips. We go to Abruzzo where there is an Essalunga, a huge American style store with just about everything. It won third place for worldwide supermarkets after Wegmans and Whole Foods. We go maybe 2-3 times a year. It is about 45 minutes away.

We buy wine from the local wineries and also online. Italians have not embraced online shopping much yet but we get a lot of things that way. Amazon Prime Italy is a lot cheaper too. I love it that the trucks will deliver our stuff to Bar Mary if we aren’t home. 🙂

So that’s about it. My normal shopping routines!

Also this week…Market find! I used to get Heirloom tomatoes from a man who came on Saturdays to Umbertide. But he has not been here for 3 years and I’ve missed his tomatoes terribly. By luck a friend posted pictures of a bunch of tomatoes on his FaceBook page and they were heirlooms!!! I found out he goes to the Citta di Castello local market on Tuesday so I made a bee line up there and sure enough, it was the same man! I bought 2 Kilos of tomatoes of all colors and sizes. And they cost only 3 Euro.

I also bought those local eggs while up there. They are covered in chicken poop and even have a feather stuck to one. It is how you know they are fresh. Eggs are not refrigerated here since they are not washed like in the US. So they keep their protective film which keeps the bacteria from getting in.

9 thoughts on “My shopping routine

  1. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Carlo, Our Wednesday market has professional vendors who go from town to town on market days. They get their produce from various places to include the far south in Sicily, Puglia, Campagnia. This allows more diversity. BUT that doesn’t mean everything is always available. For instance, you won’t see an artichoke anywhere from May to November or December. Neither things like Strawberries or Asparagus now. In summer it is the summer produce. In winter it is normally winter produce but some of the southern provinces grow things all year. The Saturday market is strictly local and you will only see produce that is IN season IN Umbria. Thus it does get very limited, especially in winter.

  2. Carlo Rodriguez

    P. S., oh, yes, I forgot about the melons and kale in our local markets—lots of melons!

  3. Carlo Rodriguez

    There’s a farmers market every Thursday afternoon at the university research lab where I work, one every Saturday morning near where we live, others throughout the county, and a permanent single-farm open air stand in town. We shop at the ones near us but the one issue I notice is that the produce does not last long, a day or two, before overripening. The offerings are somewhat limited, tomatoes, squash, peppers, peaches, nectarines, and turnips seem to dominate. So, local is good, and healthy, but it seems limited in my actual experience.

    Wandering around the weekly market there in Umbertide earlier this Summer it seemed to me that the vendors were able to draw from a broader regional, perhaps inter-regional area. The variety appeared much broader than any of our local markets here.

    There is one local natural food market in Gambrills, MD that I have yet to try but its advertising sounds promising.

  4. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Yes, I heard Amazon bought Whole Foods. Sorry for that, but I had hoped it would keep up the quality. If not it will lose market share. Not like Italy where everything is from here and healthful. 🙂 it is special to here I think.

  5. Nancy Hampton Post author

    It is tiny but perfect for a few eggs. I still make them but can’t find materials here. I am going home for thanksgiving so will order some materials to finish my two that are framed out.

  6. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Mm mm good love that gelato! And I do love shopping locally. Much healthier I think.

  7. Shirley

    Beautiful produce.. Whole foods is now owned by Amazon and sadly our local store has gone downhill. I visited the one in Fairfax the other week when I stopped in VA and it was still really nice. Hugs Shirley

  8. Mary Rodriguez

    Hi Nancy, I recognize that basket! I still have mine, so glad you showed me how to make it. I also love Heirloom tomatoes too, and can buy them in the Safeway in Arnold, MD.

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