Monday, October 17, 2011

The market

Last Saturday I finally did something I've been wanting to do for a long time: I went to the market. I can finally say I do number 4 on the list above (a picture from Pinterest I put on my recipes page). I'm lucky enough to have two markets close to my house, one that operates Thursday mornings and one on Saturdays. I definitely know the value of buying things at a local market, but I've been scared of going all this time. Why? I don't know. Fear of the unknown, fear of having to establish relationships with the vendor, fear of getting ripped off. My landlady said she'd go with me, so I was decided to go last Saturday... but when I knocked on her door she wasn't home! I was just about to go to the grocery store when I got a call from my BF who encouraged me to go.

So off I went, but I was still pretty scared. I know, who gets scared about going to the market? Wimps like me. I'm so glad I went though. It was packed full of people, mostly older people, and there were A LOT of stands. And not only fruits and veggies: I especially loved the baby fruit trees, the striped orchids and even goldfish!

Approaching the market, in fear and trembling

After circling around, I decided to go to a stand where there were a lot of people (you had to take a number) and where the prices were clearly marked. When she told me the price at the end I asked "but... for everything?" I was so confused... three euros for a bag full of vegetables! I compared the prices to the grocery store prices when I got home (prices per kilo, grocery store Pingo Doce):
carrots: 0.49 grocery store; 0.60 market
tomato: 1.29 grocery store; 0.50 market
grapes: 1.99 grocery store; 1.50 market
leek: 0.58 grocery store; 0.50 market
red bell pepper: 1.49 grocery store; 1.00 market
pumpkin: 1.99 grocery store; 0.75 market

So why would you NOT go to the market? It's cheaper, things are fresh and local and tastier (according to my landlady who says the fruit in grocery stores isn't good). Plus it's a much more personal experience... and it's fun! I saw an older couple shopping together at the market, comparing the prices of chestnuts from one stand to the other and thought of the single, young people you see at supermarkets buying frozen or processed food. Even though the typical person that shops at a supermarket in Portugal has a higher literacy rate and income, I would say the typical person that shops at the local market has more quality of life. What is life really about anyway?

Now every week I'll be getting my fruit and vegetables at the market!

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