When we moved here, in 1997, we bought our fruit at the supermarket, when we did our weekly shop once a week. As we tended to in the UK.
Friends told us that there were some lovely 'froutaria' shops - greengrocers, as we would call them in the UK - and sure enough I found one that was excellent, and would go there perhaps once a week for extra fresh fruit and veg.
Then it closed down.
When we moved, last year, we found a very close fruit shop - just two minutes' walk from our house. It was useful when I'd run out of onions or lettuce mid-week, but the prices didn't seem great, the produce wasn't really as good as that in the supermarket, and - worst of all - despite no-smoking signs everywhere, I saw several men with lighted cigarettes in the shop, and no attempt made to stop them. Ugh. At least smoking in supermarkets seems to have been banned in the past five or six years.
Friends told us that there was a much nicer froutaria a little further away, but it took me a while to try it. Now I'm hooked. I go there usually twice a week, first thing in the morning during the summer (it opens at 7am).
There are always lots of reduced fruit and vegetables outside, as shown in this picture. I assume they're the previous days' produce, since they're always in good condition, and the prices are amazing. Inside, the shop is air conditioned, usually pretty full of Cypriots (always a good sign) and the quality and selection of produce is superb. In addition, there's a refrigerated section with milk, lunch meats, cheeses (etc) and a few extra items - sugar, salt, some cans, and so on - that would be found in a regular supermarket.
I make freshly squeezed juice every morning, and (during the summer) pure fruit smoothies most afternoons, so this froutaria is very useful, particularly now when there are lots of soft fruit in season, which wouldn't necessarily keep for a whole week if we bought them at the supermarket.
Are they expensive? I get asked that fairly often. The prices vary during the season, they vary from shop to shop, and one person's idea of good value is another person's 'very expensive'. If you're from a country other than Cyprus, a lot depends on the exchange rate too.
But for what it's worth, here's what I bought this morning:
1.25 kg apricots (from the reduced section)
just under 1kg nectarines (from the reduced section)
just over 1kg grapes
0.75 kg black cherries
0.65 kg kiwi fruit
I should add that the black cherries are the most expensive of the lot. They were a whopping £2.99 per kilo. But worth it. The reduced apricots and nectarines cost 69c per kilo. (For those in America, that's about 69 US cents per imperial pound)
The total bill was £6.30. (That's around £7.40 sterling, or $13 US)
Is that expensive compared to other countries at this time of year? I'd be interested to know.