Things have changed over the last few weeks at Moore Wilson's. Firstly its gotten busier in the run up to Christmas but also there have been a lot of changes in the produce section. Apricots, peaches, broad beans, corn on the cob, tamarillos, loganberries and boysenberries have all come into season. Some of these are things I have never heard of. Fruit and veg are very seasonal in New Zealand, there are certain staples like apples and potatoes that you can get all year round but a few of the more rare fruit come and go occasionally. You can even get seasonal stuff out of season but it doesn't taste very nice and is expensive. For example a couple weeks ago chillies were $59.95 a kilo due to bad frost and now they are $39.95 as the weather is getting a bit better. Its because New Zealand is so far from anywhere else that it is expensive to import, however home grown food is also expensive due to farmers demanding fair wages and a fair price for their product. So its six of one and half a dozen on the other really.
Moore Wilson's is a cash and carry, however I work in Moore Wilson's Fresh, which is more of a supermarket. Its very upmarket, selling some of the best quality and freshest produce. The meat section sells everything from wild goat and ostrich to things as mundane and chicken. Frozen stuff is all in the cash and carry section, apart from a few 'artisan' products such as frozen yoghurt and NZ$14.95 a tub (£7.50) and lobster ravioli. The bakery is incredible, stocking breads, pastries, baked goods and cakes from some of the best cafe's and bakeries in Wellington with the cheapest loaves of bread starting at about NZ$4 and going up to $7.50 (the handmade ciabatta flown in from Christchurch). The cakes look amazing, but I can't afford them and the triple chocolate brownies are my favourite treat. There are a lot of 'artisan' products like home-made pies, soups, dips and condiments. Tomato chilli jam and tamarillo chutney are two of the best. The olive oils are to die for and there is a massive fridge full of blocks and wheels of cheese. Wow the cheese, there are so many varieties and they are very expensive. They have to be cut up, wrapped, weighed, priced and labelled so my friends sneak us little pieces to try.
We have also started selling Christmas things now and when the local newspaper announced winner of the best mince pies two days ago we started selling them, even though we don't stock that particular bakery. Then best thing is that on weekends there are always about three or four products being given out for tastings, so when you walk around the shop you get free food! the other day the cut up an amazing lemon tea cake and I had to take a try round the shop offering it to people. A lot of people are happy to try it but some people look at you like you're handing out Anthrax and run away, a very funny reaction when you're trying to hand out free stuff!
Then there's the checkouts. Its normal to have your bags packed for you, rather than doing your own like at home. I think doing your own is better because people are so fussy about how they are packed sometimes. People often want meat in one bag, fish in another than everything else together which makes no sense because its a waste of plastic if you only have a few things and its better to keep all cold things together anyway, keeps the temperature down on the journey home. And it took a while to get used to having to use a keyboard, at John Lewis we had touch screens. We also have name badges and it freaks me out when I greet a customer and they say 'hello Gwyneth' or 'that's an unusual name, are you Welsh?' The other day a women did say tell me that was her name as well and an old woman said there were a few Gwyneth's in school with her, with various spellings and variations.
So that's the crazy world of Moore Wilson's, you can come in for milk and leave having spent $100 on not a lot really. But its all top quality stuff made with some of New Zealands finest ingredients.