here in vienna, prices at the supermarket are magnitudes (between one and half and two times) higher than in toronto or elsewhere in north america, especially for cheese and produce.
happily, the cheese and the produce are far better than what one is accustomed to in toronto. after a summer in carinthia and on the island of hvar, i became even more particular, so i still try to buy my fruits and vegetables at the freyag market on thursdays.
the native fruits and vegetables of austria (apples, onions, beets, carrots, lettuce of various sorts, squash of all kinds, brussel sprouts, broccoli) are not any more expensive and superb. full of flavour and small.
(how did north americans ever fall for the plump shiny enormous and tasteless red apple, found almost everywhere in their supermarkets?)
but everywhere all of this food costs much more than in toronto. yet it is a joy to eat. one need not eat so much of it to feel nourished.
when one goes out into the countryside, there are many small farms, many prosperous small holdings. the consumer is paying (and the government too) for this quality produce. but the farms are there and so are the farmers.
it is a sustainable universe with happy consumers and comparatively well-off farmers (and anyone who says european farmers are lazy and idlers and ought to be forced to work harder hasn’t spent anytime on a farm over here).
higher prices and higher quality is not limited only to food. it carries over across the retail gamut. europe is more expensive
but the current american model of massive discount retail pricing is destroying the quality of products, the producers themselves, the smaller specialty stores.
the model of quantity not quality is a ghastly one, laying desert to an entire continent in concrete and neon. and the food doesn’t even taste good.
my austrian girlfriend anna found the food in new york so bad she could only shop in health food stores. in toronto, she said food was much better but not good.