One of the Best Parts of Living Abroad: Shopping Like a Local

One of the Best Parts of Living Abroad: Shopping Like a Local

I have learned that shopping at the largest grocery store isn’t always the best or cheapest choice. It took me a long time to accept this as I’m used to the mega shopping centers in the USA. You could get any sort of fruit or vegetable any time of the year, no matter if they are in season. I was in for quite the shock when I moved to the Netherlands. Not only can you not find lots of items unless they are in season, but you also have to run all around town to find everything on your shopping list. Some items I have yet to even locate, like dill pickles. 

Shopping at Local Farms

One of my favorite things to do when I have some time is cycle around. The area that I live in is filled with farms that sell fresh produce. Most of the produce is much larger than what you’d find in the supermarket and way cheaper. I love finding veggies that are in season and cooking with them. For example, the giant zucchini in the photo below was only €0,50. Can you believe it? I mean, where in the world can you find that much zucchini for that price? It’s mind-boggling and amazing!

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Experiencing New Flavors

Even though some items I haven’t even found here in the Netherlands, I’ve discovered new foods. Like these white asparagus. Lots of farms nearby sell them when they are in season, all locally grown. The only ones I’ve ever seen sold in the states were green. I’m glad that I tried white asparagus. They aren’t my favorite, but they were a new taste. In my opinion, white asparagus doesn’t have much flavor and are more watery than green asparagus. Great that I don’t particularly like them because they aren’t the cheapest veggies.

The Aroma and Beauty of Fresh Flowers

I never used to buy flowers no matter how badly I wanted them. I mean, why would I pay for something that would die in a week? Well, I’ve gotten hooked on them. And I even carry them on my bike like a real Dutch person. The flowers here are so much more affordable than those sold in the states. Luckily, I hinted and told Kevin, my partner, that I want him to buy me flowers enough times that he recently started buying me them every once in a while. Such a lovely sight to see him come home with a giant bouquet.

Shopping at the Farmer’s Market

Another thing that I’ve taken up is shopping at the local farmer’s market. There’s so much more choice there than at the grocery store. It’s also a great place to find inexpensive local produce. The only negative thing is, some of the stuff goes bad faster than the stuff you’d buy at the grocery store. But everyone there is usually so nice and there’s such good energy. Most Dutch cities and towns have these markets at least once a week. Where I live, they take place twice a week.

All of this only cost €20,15.

I rarely buy fish at the grocery store anymore because, at the farmer’s market or fish store, fish is way fresher. It’s a bit on the pricey side and well worth it. Plus, I get to try new sorts of seafood that I wouldn’t find at my local grocery store. And, the people who sell the products are willing to take the time to explain to me what to do with the items. I didn’t grow up with much seafood since most of it isn’t kosher. So I’m still learning how to make mussels, clams, lobster, and more.

If you want to explore the countryside, then go ahead and do so. Get out of your comfort zone and try new foods. Don’t be afraid if you don’t know how to cook it. Someone will always be willing to explain it to you. As much as I miss having all sorts of fruits and vegetables available to me whenever I want them, I deeply appreciate the way Dutch people use what they have at their disposal.

What new foods have you tried since moving away from your hometown?

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4 thoughts on “One of the Best Parts of Living Abroad: Shopping Like a Local

  1. Just added Dutch interest to my Facebook page, and your posts happened to come up. I was born in Groningen in 1945, so I am thoroughly enjoying your posts! Have been back many times, have even had all my children and grandchildren see where I was born. At Christmas they wouldn’t be happy without Dutch treats – banket, speculaas, Jan hagel cookies, sprinkles for toast and of course, Dutch cheese for everyone!

    Keep writing!


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