by Marlene Berlin
We had been walking and exploring Santiago for hours, my friend Cheryl and I. Cheryl moved to Santiago, Chile a few months ago, and I was there for a visit recently.
As we headed back to her apartment located in El Centro, the center of Santiago, she told me that she needed to pick up some avocados, tomatoes and oranges. The last thing I wanted to do was stop at a supermarket. Even an inveterate walker like me gets tired, and Cheryl looked rather ragged herself.
I was much relieved when we stopped at a vegetable cart by her apartment.
This vendor had all sorts of fruits and vegetables. I was surprised at the variety – beans, eggplants, avocados, peppers, oranges, bananas, fresh strawberries, mini clementines and some native fruit I did not recognize. Cheryl told the fellow what she wanted, pointed to the specific pieces, and he bagged the produce up for her.
I envied the ease at which she could pick something up for dinner without even having to step inside a store. And this was one of three carts near her apartment. She actually prefers another stand a bit farther away because the proprietor allows her to handle the produce herself.
I got back to DC and thought about my visit to Santiago, and what I would bring back to DC if I could. It was those fruit and vegetable carts. I would just love to hop to Connecticut Avenue to pick up the vegetables I need for dinner.
And what about of all those residents heading to the Metro in the morning or marching home in the evening? They could stop for a piece of fruit to snack on or a vegetable to cook or chop up in a salad. Would Giant consider putting such a cart on Connecticut Avenue, or would someone else see this as a business opportunity? I sure hope so.
And I’m not the only Forest Hills resident to think of this. Our Van Ness retail survey finds a few of you dreaming of a fruit and vegetable vendor or a year-round farmers market. More details of that survey will be revealed soon.