June 30, 2012

My Romanian vacation Part 5 – Romanian farmers’ markets

Growing up in Romania, I’ve always been accustomed to buying fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmers’ market.  Back in the day, it was incomprehensible to shop for fresh produce anywhere else but the farmers’ market.  Today, things have somewhat changed in Romania due to the invasion of gargantuan supermarkets, which are open late and packed with produce from around the world all year round. 

That being said, most Romanians still shop for produce at farmers’ markets. And that’s because the goods are fresher, organic and usually locally grown, and way more inexpensive than at a supermarket.  From break of day, farmers and small vendors set up their stand, ensure that the produce looks tempting, and hope for a lucrative day at the market.  People sell everything from vegetables, fruits, nuts, homemade pasta and noodles, bread and honey, to eggs, cheese, milk and flowers; anything you can and can’t think of.  Even my 92 year-old great-grandmother still sells eggs at the market every Tuesday morning.  Admirable to say the least! 

Being home for a slightly longer period of time, of course I made it to the market, either by myself walking around, taking pictures, and soaking up the frenzied atmosphere, or with my mom doing grocery shopping.  The most popular farmers’ market in my hometown is called The Cathedral’s Market.  The reason it’s called like that is pretty obvious – the market is situated in front of the old cathedral in my hometown.  Every day, the market overflows with people and noise especially early in the morning when the market is at its peak.  Vendors want to lure you in by handing you a basket for you to fill up with goodies, buyers are trying to negotiate the prices, some are asking questions, others are chatting, and everyone wants to leave happy, and hopefully to make a profit.  To be painstakingly honest, it’s hard to leave the market without giving in and buying something, often for no other reason than the beastlike satisfaction of your eyes and tummy.  But it’s well worth it!

While the open market abounds with gorgeous fruits and vegetables, in the massive hall next to the open market farmers sell bread, homemade pasta, eggs and dairy products; the atmosphere is also less hectic and the hall is a chance to escape from the chaos outside.  Finally, I shouldn’t overlook the tiny souvenir corner of the market where you can buy anything from traditional Romanian fedora hats, baskets and colorful flip-flops, to wooden spoons, water canteens, flamboyant plates and Dracula trinkets; anything that would remind tourists of our beautiful country.  The funny thing is that the market hasn’t changed a bit throughout the years and has remained a little gem, a place to shop and explore.  And there are thousands like it throughout Romania waiting for locals and tourists alike. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice pictures I have to say. Coming as a visitor to Bucharest, I had the chance to see the Piata Domenii market in late winter. I was impressed by how lush the presentation of the vegetables were. And I had the chance to discover the Brânză de burduf cheese. my impresssions are here: http://askan.biz/2014/04/21/piata-domenii-market-bucharest-romania/