Crazy about Fresh Air Food Markets
| January 17, 2011
In Coffee and Convo, Photo Gallery, Travel Scoop
Maybe it’s because of my country-girl roots that I long for the fruit and vegetable stand along the way where you can buy unbelievable fresh produce at unbelievable prices. But I live in suburbia where the veggie stand has been overtaken by the supermarket with rows of perfectly formed fruits and vegetables that are lined up like good little soldiers.
Sure I still have the local farmer’s markets and in the growing season have Farmer Fred who brings his bounty to my neighborhood. But I miss walking down the street and being able to buy, touch, savor and sample fresh produce. Then I started visiting some of the “big” cities around the US and the world and I once again found the fresh-air markets of my childhood.
Different in a million ways from my country upbringing, but the same in so many ways. Seattle’s Pike Place Market is world-renown and brims with people and produce finds.
New York City is dotted with local produce stands and markets where you pick up just an apple for the afternoon for a quick snack in The Big Apple or a cauldron full of veggies for your latest vegetable soup experiment. The larger, more well-known markets like Union Square find you shopping right alongside perhaps a famous chef or movie star, although they always look like just normal shoppers. And then Europe takes the fresh air market to a whole new level.
In Paris, there are streets that still resemble the traditional open air markets with not just the butcher, baker and candlestick maker, but the Chocolatier and wine shop, too, right there alongside my favorite: the fruits and veggies.
In Camden Town Market in London, the fresh produce shows up on the weekends right beside the tacky t-shirt sellers. But somehow it works.
And then there is Borough Market in London, which has the history as well as the depth of treats available. I mean seriously, have you ever seen such a huge basket of Brussels sprouts? Or such a beautiful display of mushrooms and herbs? I loved this quote I found on the wall on the outer edge of the market. And that, I realize, is what draws me to these markets, no matter where I am. It’s the people: the fellow shoppers, the cheese makers, the cookie guy, the mushroom guy, and the wild game guy, they are why I go. And when I’m back home, it’s the rough-hand farmer who backs his pick-up truck into the stall at the farmer’s market with the bed brimming with potatoes or corn or pumpkins that makes me trek out 10 miles from my house to shop with them.
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