Buying Produce in Italy

Weighing Produce in an Italian Grocery
Don’t forget to weigh your produce

I hope you’ll buy your produce own ┬áproduce while visiting Italy. You’ll either visit a vendor or street cart, or maybe go to the Coop or Conad Grocery. If so, there are two ways to handle your selection.

In a grocery store –

All bulk produce is labeled with a price, and an item number. You are expected to arrive at the check out stand with your produce “pre-weighed” and labeled. Select your produce and put it into the plastic bag provided. Make note of the item number. Find the scale, like the one pictured here. place your bagged produce on the scale and press the item number that matches your produce. A printed label will come out of the scale which you attach to your bag.

If you’re like me and you don’t want to use all those individual plastic bags, you can weigh your items individually, print the labels, put all your produce in one bag, and attach multiple labels. The check out person will scan each of your labels on the single bag.

At a produce stand –

At a produce stand you don’t weigh your own produce. If fact, you don’t touch your own produce. You ask (or point) the the amount you want, and the proprietor will weigh and bag it for you. It is considered rude to handle a vendors produce yourself.

Remember, produce comes in Kilos, that’s a lot of potatoes. A good word to know is “Etto” and etto is a 10th of a kilo, or a bit less than a quarter pound.

Ask for “un atto” if you want that amount, Due, Tre, or Quattro etti for more. Like most Italian words, where the singular ends in “o” – Etto, to make it plural you switch it to “I” – Etti.