Ever since moving to East Sheen over two years ago, I have always found it strange that there was nowhere apart from the supermarket chains to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. The South-West London suburb is home to loads of independent retailers, including a couple of butcher's shops, several bakeries and even a pet shop. But there was no green grocery in sight.
A couple of weeks ago that all changed when a much-needed independent fruit and veg shop opened on East Sheen's high street, the Upper Richmond Road. Since then, my husband and I have already made it part of our Saturday morning routine to stroll along and pick up our stash of vegetables for the week. It is so refreshing not to have to rely on the over-priced, over-packaged offerings of Waitrose or Tesco.
The shop - simply named Fruit & Veg - already has a great selection of produce, most of which is laid out neatly and accessibly on black-painted wooden pallets. There are also wicker baskets dotted around with more items to pick out, and one wall is covered with wooden shelves ready to be filled with nice olive oils, sauces and tinned tomatoes etc.
As you walk in, you are greeted with the scent of fresh fruit such as in-season strawberries, sweet peaches and giant watermelons. Further in you get the waft of wild herbs; huge bunches of parsley and aromatic coriander. It's hard not to fill your shopping basket right to the brim, although it wouldn't cost a lot if you did. Last week we walked away with this little lot for around £7.00.
I really hope the shop can survive the test of time alongside the nearby supermarkets. Of course it's still in its infancy, but when we were there we were the only ones shopping on a Saturday morning. Hopefully as more and more people discover where it is - it has taken the site of the old photography shop at 459 Upper Richmond Road - the shop will build up some regular customers and turn into the thriving local green grocery that it deserves to be.