A produce lover’s German adventure

02/15/2013 09:41:00 AM
Pamela Riemenschneider

Pamela Riemenschneider, Aisle WanderingPamela Riemenschneider, Aisle WanderingBERLIN — I can’t imagine who would need fresh cherries badly enough to pay $40 a pound for them.

click image to zoomcherries kadeweSolid gold cherries? I’ve joked before about retailers picking up the new early season “Gold Plated Rainier” variety, selling them for $10 and $15 a pound just a week or two before they’re on ad for $3.99 or less.

But the €69.95 a kilogram Australian cherries I saw last week at the Kaufhaus des Westens took the prize for “most absurd” thing I encountered during my retail adventures in Berlin for Fruit Logistica.

click image to zoomThis includes the cone-shaped cabbages. I had no idea cabbages came in such shapes.

There were flat, vaguely donut-shaped cabbages, too. I also saw miniature cabbages, which I hope no one confuses with Brussels sprouts.

Then there was the Brussels sprout-kale hybrid. That was pretty cool, and combines two of the hottest vegetables on the market right now.

The bacon-obsessed food bloggers are going to flip when they get their hands on these.

The best part of attending Fruit Logistica was seeing things that are different. Even ordinary things were slightly different.

European markets

click image to zoomcarrots europePamela RiemenschneiderThis snack pack of baby carrots was just that -- baby carrots. And they were all pretty much the same size and shape and weren't peeled or trimmed. Carrots are oddly uniform in shape — stumpy instead of pointy — and instead of baby peeled carrots in a snack pack, they had baby carrots in single-serving trays, all roughly the same shape and size without mechanical interference.

Bananas hung from overhead racks in the urban markets I visited, which was a cool way to keep them from getting damaged, but probably not feasible for most U.S. retailers.

You’d have to have one clerk dedicated to banana replenishment from open to close every day. Maybe they could mechanize it and have it circle the display like a giant tie rack and have a guy continually restocking bananas.

click image to zoomgerman sandwichesPamela RiemenschneiderThese are not your ordinary donut shop sandwiches, and yet that's where they were. Every subway station had a stand selling something like this. Fresh produce was everywhere. Fresh food was everywhere.

Whoever says that all German food begins with bacon, onions and potatoes (not that there’s anything wrong with that Holy Trinity of cooking) obviously doesn’t hit up the myriad breakfast places with beautiful, fresh sandwiches adorned with green leaf lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Sure, there was a lot of sausage and beer, but this was a produce lover’s adventure in retail.

Come see the pictures at Produce Retailer.

pamelar@thepacker.com

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