When it comes to fresh food, there has long been a dividing line between Britain, the United States – or English-speaking countries – and much of the rest of the world. Early and rapid industrialisation in the former led to a divorce between great swathes of the population and the land they once farmed.
Refrigeration, railways, suburban growth and the car have given rise to the supermarket, with its shrink-wrapped food, sell-by dates, and the branding and advertising of what we eat. Driving to edge-of-town supermarkets has resulted in the closure of family shops, the de-valuing of high streets and a decline in interaction between buyers, growers and sellers of food.
The role of the supermarket was once played by covered markets in Britain and North America just as it is today in much of the world where people still want to look closely at the food they plan to buy, and to enjoy the incomparable buzz and the feast of all senses covered markets offer.