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.
Nuts for sale.