Sunday, September 12, 2010

Market Day!

For those of you lucky enough to be within reasonable distance of farmers market, you may want to visit there as often as you can.  There are not just a great selection of fresh vegetables at jaw-dropping prices (1zl for a kilo of potatoes!) there is also a great social experience.  I could go to a farmer's market just to watch the vendors and the shoppers.  It's not like a supermarket where everyone pushes around those metal carts surveying the choices of potato chips and listening to soft hits; here, grizzled farmers with dusty hands the size of dinner plates scoop up potatoes, beets, carrots and dump them into a bag to weigh them.  People mill about the stalls, examining the produce and always looking for the best deals.  Hawkers call out to passersby, sometimes urging to try to taste their superior products.
Shoppers pick up fresh produce at the bazaar.

If you are late in the day (everyone is packing up by 2:30-3:00), sometimes you can haggle over the price of the last remaining cauliflower.  Often, later in the day, you can see where hawkers have scratched out the original prices and marked down their goods just to get them to move.
The farmer market I attended to weekly starts in mid-spring.  I am always eager to buy fresh vegetables, especially tomatoes, because the ones in the grocery stores always tasteless.  Fruits and vegetables that are shipped to supermarkets are picked unripe, then exposed ethylene in transit so they ripen just in time to hit the shelves.  The downside of the fruit not ripening naturally is that the flavors are not as complex and rich as those in naturally-ripened fruit.  During the summer and autumn months, many supermarkets try to carry fruits and vegetables from local sources.  This is especially true in Poland because the weak zloty makes imports more expensive, so it's more economical to buy natively anyway.  But, regardless, I like to buy straight from the farmer.
One of the exciting things about the bazaar is that the in-season produce is always changing.  Prices fluctuate week to week, and it's a little game to buy as much of one product when the price dips low.  Some produce, like fava beans, were available for only two weeks.  I missed my opportunity to buy as much as I can to turn into falafel and hummus (chickpeas are expensive and rare here.  So is tahini.)
A few stalls sell things like cured meats, cheeses, preserves, honey, and imported fruits.  From my experience, these can be hit or miss.  I've gotten excellent cheese and kabanosy (small, dried sausages), but have gotten some not-so-great kielbasa as well.  Many vendors have huge barrels full of ogórki malo solny (a type of pickle) and sauerkraut.
Peaches for sale.

Farmers markets don't just offer produce.  Other vendors, ones selling antiques, DVDs, clothes, books, cleaning products, and kitchenware, also set up shop for the day.  Supermarkets like Tesco become irrelevant on the weekends, because one can get almost anything at the bazaar.

Not just produce at the farmers market.


I truly love these markets.  I often spend less than forty zloty and stagger away with tons of fresh fruits and vegetables.  With fall fast approaching and summer's grip withering, I find it's best to buy up as much cheap produce as I can now and preserve as much as I can.  Already, the kitchen is stacked with countless jars of strawberry and plum jam, plum wine brewing (I finished a batch of cherry wine), and I'm in the act of preserving tomatoes, onions, and potatoes.  I love fall, and everything it offers, but it does urge me to fill up my freezer with as much frozen freshness as I can.  Soon, the farmers will put away their stalls for the winter, and we'll all be forced to eat tasteless tomatoes, sad-looking lettuce, and unnaturally crisp apples.  But, the bright side is that all those wonderful tropical fruits will be hitting the shelves.


Wild mushrooms.


Nuts for sale.




41 comments:

miecak said...

Its great to read your experiences. I'm from Poland myself (live in The Netherlands).

Keep on blogging!

polishwarrior said...

I agree, I love famers markets. I make tomato sauce every year. Going to the market and buying a few bushels is always a fun trip.

Caroline Amnesty said...

looks great!

Come At Me Bro said...

This is awesome!

ihazasad said...

I also laugh farmer markets, for one moment you can forget the modern world we live in.

Fuuuuuuuu said...

those fresh fruits look delicious!

Piripi Anxo said...

awsm! i love these markets!

The Alaskan Reviewer said...

wow so about 75 cents(usd) for 5lbs? thats pretty good. And i'll bet the quality and variety of stuff is way better too

Come At Me Bro said...

Sweet!

Voley said...

I have same market near me, in Russia!

Superhero Bobblehead said...

Here in Southern California we have shit for farmers markets. I'm so jealous.

nuttinbutapeanut said...

wow, lovely blog dude.

Michaelangelo said...

Awesome. A legit blog. Interesting to learn about and see poland. Im from New York, we got no farms here -_- lol. Well atleast not where I live.

Supporting!

The State of Human Intelligence said...

Coool story, bra!

Le Coq Bleu said...

I always get my fresh stuff at the farmer market and you should too.
Tip: great place to practice some trollin.

Muhunty said...

Farmers market is the best they give normal farmers the respect they need.

Daily support mate.

Anti1337 said...

this reminds me of the many street markets in china, very lively and always full of great stuff!

Anti1337 said...

this reminds me of the many street markets in china, very lively and always full of great stuff!

Nona said...

supporting :)

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Dave said...

wow would love a market like that by me, fuck all in UK haha

Jehrin said...

I wanna go to a food market sometime, looks cool

problem.question said...

Farmers markets are so awesome

Slumph said...

nom nom, fresh food ftw :D

Shelby Fox said...

Great blog! I'm definitely planning on travelling to Warsaw one day. Heard that it's a great party city.

Skutt Panda PO said...

so manny vegetables :)

David said...

Nice blog man follwoin and supportin!

Saryn said...

Oh god farmer's markets. As a cook I'm really sad that I don't have one of these around town. All of those pictures look so good.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Poland actually, I live in Warsaw as well. And I must say you've... just opened my eyes kinda. I never liked farmer's markets but now they seem at kinda different angle. Might visit one soon.

regards, Pawel

The Alaskan Reviewer said...

"kabanosy" very good stuff... kind of an aquired taste if it has been aged a long time

rawry said...

damn, all that stuff looks delicious

Nona said...

great blog :)

MacPCharmony said...

Wow, I like your inside view on this...

Swift Love said...

interesting post here

Hank Noir said...

my friends parents are polish and they cook the best food.

Mydailydreams said...

A french followers, nice to read polish adventures !

tb_robertson said...

Nice post.
Which Farmer's Market do you prefer? We've found quite a few good ones here. Last Sunday we stumbled upon the market in Park Mocyldo. WOW! Huge, and loads of good stuff.

inz4n3 said...

Awesome!

kkazzamm said...

Wow now thats a farmers market. I live in the S-E US (major farming land) and yet our local farmers markets are nothign so vast. :/

Leona Thriftola said...

hey! I'm visiting Warsaw soon, where is this market? Thanks, Leona

PolishMeKnob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.