I love markets. The sellers calling out over the crowds of hungry buyers all taking in the delights via every sense; the colours, the shapes, the smells, the tastes…
Everything is so fresh—straight out of the ground, or off the bush, or from the tree. No chemicals or pesticides or preservatives. (Except jam, but we forgive jam.)
And it is all so seasonal—stuff that nature naturally wants to produce at this time of year in this climate. Nothing artificially forced into life in the Spanish greenhouses of Almeria.
And it’s all local—produce that your local farmer spent time lovingly growing. No pineapples shipped in from Paraguay to satisfy our strange desire for them all through the year.
It’s also environmentally friendly—no cellophane wrappers waiting to suffocate tortoises in the Great Pacific, or plastic bags on a quest to cover the earth. And no major transport vehicles bringing in food from a neighbouring country that we can grow very well for ourselves!
And it clear this kind of food makes everyone happy. People smile and chat amongst themselves as they wait patiently in line to pay, before popping their muddy carrots, smaller-than-supermarket cucumbers, and funny-shaped potatoes into a large basket and skipping home to start cooking.
Okay, so may I romanticise things a little bit. But there is a definite energy to a market that no supermarket could even come close to replicating.
Lenka invited me to join her at her local farmers market today. She goes every Saturday. It was fantastic! I watched as she meticulously choose every single berry and cherry that went into her big bag of summer fruits. And then I hurried off to the vegetable stall for my goodies. Lettuce, tomatoes, cauliflower, and… spring onions… I couldn’t find the spring onions. I tried another stall. Nope. No spring onions. Now, if I was in a supermarket, there would no doubt be enough spring onions to swim in. But at the farmer’s market… none!
Then in dawned on me; it’s nearly July. Spring onions grow in Spring! (The clue is in their name.) So I eagerly opened my eyes to see what WAS in season, and a big, fat, juicy red onion was hopping out of its skin to catch my attention, so I bought it. And had to resist biting straight into it.
A trip to a market is a trip to nature, to a time nearly gone, and to a place closer to home. I’ll definitely be going again next Saturday.
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