For a cook, walking into Green’s is the equivalent of sending a child into a candy store. (Actually, you might want to bring the child too). The shop is open and bright, with punnets of fresh fruit drawing your attention from outside the store; seasonal strawberries being particularly appealing this month. Beyond the colourful selection of fruit and vegetables Clem has recently stocked some micro herbs such as Sorrel and Coriander which are like turbo-boosted versions of those we are so familiar with from supermarkets. The large, soft medjool dates sitting with the sweet, but not too sickly Turkish Delight would make a divine sticky toffee pudding.
However, Clem the proprietor was not always a green grocer. A joiner by trade, he took over the local store around two weeks before the Crail Food Festival last year. The shop was in need of renovation and so instead of closing it for eight weeks, Clem built a shed that he was able to position just outside the store. He filled the shed every day with fresh produce, leaving some scales and an honesty box so that customers could weigh out their own produce and pay without his assistance. The Courier picked up the story with interest, perhaps sceptical towards the ‘honesty’ of communities nowadays. However, Clem advocates that the scheme was a success. Furthermore, when he finally moved back into his newly fitted store, Clem decided to sell the shed for charity, raising money for the RNLI which has a close relationship with the coastal village.
Clem is what I fear could be described as a rare breed nowadays: A local green grocer who plays a part in the village community. He knows his customers and has strong relationships with other local businesses and suppliers, seeking to stock local and seasonal produce where possible. With the recent closure of John Birrell on South Street in St Andrews, I was glad to see the store in Crail being well-supported.
In addition to the aforementioned stock, he also sells a selection of Scottish cheese, chutneys, jams, fresh fish from G&J Wilson of St Monan’s and lobsters from the harbour. The hot smoked salmon is the most delicious that I have ever tasted. On my return home I thought I would turn it into a pâté, but found myself adding a tiny amount of each additional ingredient so as not to detract from the raw product’s incredible flavour.
In the next few months, Clem is keen to get a premises licence to sell wine and local beers and ales from producers such as the St Andrews Brewing Co. and the Eden Brewery based in Guardbridge. He told me that he was helping out at the Crail Food Festival where possible but will be in his store (complete with a Belgian chocolate fountain) over the weekend. So if you’re in town visiting for the festival, take a walk up from the harbour to High Street South to say hello.
Shopkeeper: Clement Green
High Street South
Tel: 01333 450010