Saturday, July 5, 2008

Markets

As promised, I am going to wax a little about farmers markets.  Back in the states, I go to markets almost religiously.  In Illinois, there is a reasonably good market downtown where I go in my attempts to get my family to eat more local produce. At University, I am very lucky that there is a market only 10 minutes away. It has even more vendors than the market in IL. I was such the atypical college student in that I would get out of bed early on Saturday mornings so that I could be at the market between 8 and 8:30 to get my weekly produce fix. Yes, you heard correctly. I would wake up early for fruits and vegetables.

But what about the cost? It may not always be cheaper than the grocery store, but it also depends on what you buy. Regardless, I do not mind paying a little bit more because I know that what I am buying is locally grown, usually with less chemicals and such than you would find in the store if not organic. My favorite thing about the market is how I can browse around and try to find the best prices, especially for things like bell peppers. It might have driven my roommate a little crazy last year, but I really do love red bell peppers. I could eat them just raw all day. Sadly, this vegetable can be rather expensive when it is not in season. What I discovered is that after you chop it up, bell peppers freeze really well. Just spread them out on a cookie sheet or pan and stick them in the freezer. After they are frozen, you can transfer them into plastic bags. This enables you to have peppers to add to dishes all year around. I bought so many when they were only 75 cents or $1.50 for the really large ones.

Here, the market is a little bit different. Not quite all of the produce is local. Some of the more 'exotic' fruits have been shipped in by the farmers from other places such as Spain. For this reason, I try not to buy peaches or nectarines too much. I have typically been spending 10 Euros each Saturday when I go. This is not too bad at all, though sometimes I have less produce because I buy most of it organic. What I like about Germany is that most of the produce is pre
tty reasonably priced, (not to mention the bread).  Today I got 2 containers of raspberries (I couldn't resist my favorite fruit, and the last of the seasons strawberries didn't look as good), 1 small zucchini, 315g cherry tomatoes, 1 red bell pepper, and 3 apples.  This is pretty
 good considering I still have a few things left over from my trip last week. 

 Naturally, I used some of my goods to make pasta with garlic, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and bell pepper. Not too bad of a way to get my vegetables, if I do say so myself.

1 comment:

David said...

What the deuce is a 'bell pepper'? Is it what the Germans call Paprika, and I might know as a capsicum?

Apropos food in all its guises, I bought some fruit here in Vienna today and it was the blandest produce I've sunk my teeth into for some time. Maybe it was the dubious local supermarket, but I think that, generally speaking, the flavour of things here is but a patch of what I remember it tasting like in Aus (and please don't for a second take that as some kind of home-yearning, it ain't!).