Wednesday, November 21, 2012

der Gemüsemann - Our Vegetable Guy

In an earlier blog I wrote about the bakery truck that stops on our street every Wednesday morning, and I also mentioned that a truck full of fruits and vegetables stops on Tuesday evenings. I had written that I don't get very excited about vegetables, but I've since changed my mind.

The vendor's name is Mustafa, and he's like our own private year-round farmer's market. He's got just about everything related to fruits and vegetables, and some unrelated - I bought a dozen eggs from him last night!
Between the bakery truck and Mustafa, this was a sampling of what I bought this week.

Lately I start my shopping list on Sunday evenings, revise it Monday, and finalize my week's meal plan on Tuesday morning so that I'm ready for Mustafa.

Last night the first thing I grabbed was a Blumenkohl (cauliflower). I set it on Mustafa's little counter and turned to look for something else, but he put the Blumenkohl back and grabbed a different one. "Dieser sieht schöner aus" ("This one looks nicer"), he said. Then I started looking through the red peppers, and he said "Rote Paprika? Warte*..." ("Red peppers? Wait...") and pulled a box out from under his shelves. The peppers in that box were much brighter than the ones on display. I feel like I've finished my probationary period, and now Mustafa will bring out the best stuff.  I bagged up a bunch of little potatoes and asked if he could weigh it for me because I needed 500 grams. He took the bag from me, and without putting it on the scale, he said "Das ist 520 gram." I just looked at him blankly, he looked back and me and said "Schau mal..." ("Watch.") and set the bag on his scale. It came to 508 grams. "Ach! I was off!" he grumbled.  Ah, so he's a showman, too!

What a schmoozer... :-)  But it's working! He makes me smile, asked me my name last week and wrote it down, is very friendly, and I'll happily keep buying from him rather than from the impersonal grocery store. I told him last night that I won't be here next Tuesday so he doesn't think I forgot him.

Just wait until summer when he has berries. I better warn him, or he won't be able to keep enough stock to get past us!

*For my German readers: Yes, Mustafa uses "du" with me. I was surprised at first, but like me, he is not a native German, and I think that "du-Sie" thing is too cumbersome for many of us. And I don't mind. If he brings vegetables practically to my door every week, he can darn well use "du" with me!

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