How are greengrocers referred to in American English, assuming that they exist in the US?

Wikipedia and Wiktionary say that it's primarily a term in British and Australian English but don't give a definitive explanation of what Americans use, and Japanese for Busy People II page 129 defines "八百屋" as "fruit and vegetable dealer", which seems rather clumsy.

I'm primarily interested in the shop, rather than the person.

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    We'd call it a "fruit store" or maybe a "fruit and vegetable store." They are probably more common in the U.K., but they definitely exist in the U.S. – they're quite common in New York City. And instead of "greengrocer" or "fruit and vegetable dealer," we'd probably say something like "the guy that owns (or runs) the fruit store." May 17, 2018 at 11:58
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    The word "produce" is often used...produce dealer, produce stand, produce market.......
    – J. Taylor
    May 17, 2018 at 12:04
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    Yep, "produce" is probably the most common adjective applied to such shops. Outside of hoity-toity areas it would be unusual to find a shop devoted solely to produce, however (except farmers' markets in the growing season), and folks generally assume that a "grocery" or "food market" includes produce, at least to a modest degree. (Heck, gas stations include produce anymore.)
    – Hot Licks
    May 17, 2018 at 12:17
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    Are you trying to figure out how to find such a place in the US, or wondering how to translate the term so it will be clearly understood, or something else? I think the exact term you want might vary depending on how/why you want to use it.
    – 1006a
    May 17, 2018 at 12:32

1 Answer 1


Right, so down the road from where I live in the NE (of the US), there is a fruit-and-vegetable market. Not a dealer, for pity's sake. :) And yes, fruit and vegetables are also called produce, tonic accent on the pro.

Nowadays, there are smaller super markets that have begun to re-specialize in high quality, locally or regionally produced fruit and vegetables, but even so, these establishments typically sell other things as well. Essentially though, the 19th century seller of only fruit and vegetables i.e. a greengrocer as found in a town along a main street went by the wayside or stayed there. Please read on.

Roadside fruit-and-vegetable stands are everywhere on secondary roads that go by farms, and this is the case historically as well. And some farms, do have large facilities selling fruit and vegetables and these are called farmers' markets. Typically, a wooden building filled with stands of fruits and vegetables. Also, cities and towns are holding farmers' markets on the weekends or in the summer. My town has one in a park's parking lot that runs from June through early September. Besides fruit and vegetables, there are also locally produced cheeses, jams and some pottery.

Here is a well-done historical document on this topic from the USDA: farmers' markets The first part of the document has great pictures of roadside farm stands that, in fact, look pretty much like the roadside stands of today.

The document also says this about farmers' markets:

Throughout the United States, the number of farmers markets continues to rise, their popularity spurred by consumers’ growing demand for locally produced food. More than 4,900 farmers markets operate nationwide today—a jump from fewer than 1,800 only 15 years ago. In addition to providing easier access to fresh food, studies show establishing a farmers market can revitalize a neighborhood, enhance social interaction, improve the local economy, and provide a supplemental source of farm income for many growers.

in turn, that document quotes this book:

Direct Farm Marketing as a Rural Development Tool (1997). Gale, Fred Rural Development Perspectives, 12(2), pp. 19-25

“Farmers’ markets are, of course, the oldest and most common type of direct selling. A 1993 directory of farmers’ markets published by the USDA listed 1,755 operating markets. The total number of farmers’ markets may actually be much larger, since this was not an exhaustive list and probably excluded many smaller markets. Marketing specialists at USDA and land-grant colleges believe that the number of farmers’ markets is growing, although there are no historical statistics for comparison. Markets vary widely. Some are year-round, others are seasonal; some are held in permanent indoor facilities, others are held in parking lots.” p. 20

In the US, small-scale butcher shops and greengrocers were replaced by large supermarkets at some point around the mid-twentieth century. So, it is not that the term is necessarily British, it's that main street shops called greengrocers went the way of dry goods' stores and local emporia. large supermarkets

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    +1 TL;DR for the OP: the store that a greengrocer runs is just very uncommon in the US (it appears in some very urban areas like NYC or downtown Boston). Fruits and vegetables are gotten at a bigger grocery store. So there is no special occupation in the US of being a greengrocer.
    – Mitch
    May 17, 2018 at 12:37
  • Please read my answer more carefully. Greengrocer stores were replaced by supermarkets. Anyway, we would say produce seller or fruit-and-vegetable seller today.
    – Lambie
    May 17, 2018 at 12:40
  • “Not a dealer, for pity's sake. :)“ - does “dealer” have negative connotations?
    – Golden Cuy
    May 17, 2018 at 12:53
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    @lbf: I really don't think bodega is used anywhere which doesn't have a large Latino population. May 17, 2018 at 13:42
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    @ibf You still do not get it. Historically, there were green grocers, but they all disappeared when super markets came on the scene. Just like butcher shops or bakeries for bread. The latter have made a huge comeback in the last 20 years. For much of the second half of the 20th century, bakeries basically only sold cakes and pastries and a very limited selection of breads, mostly dinner rolls and white loaf bread.
    – Lambie
    May 17, 2018 at 13:51

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