Let’s go to a Greek farmer’s market!

Let's go to a Greek farmer's market! Melons, photo by TwoPlusCute

Ever been to a Greek farmer’s market? If not, come with me and let’s visit one!

The farmer’s market is a “must go” activity in Greece. The shops are set right in the streets and every neighborhood has at least one farmer’s market every week. Rain or shine, metal tables are set under colorful umbrellas and fill with all sorts of delicious produce. Every family shops there (unless they can’t find the time) as the produce comes straight from the producers and the prices are seriously competitive and often much cheaper than in big stores.

Does it get busy? Think “black Friday” busy, every day.

Bustling Greek farmer's market, under orange unbrellas, photo by TwoPlusCute

 

Picture this: the night before the market, there are signs put in the road that will host the market. The signs warn people not to park there as the market starts very early in the morning (even at 6 am in summer) and to generally stay clear so the farmers can park and set their tents.

 

Pomegranates at a Greek farmer's market, photo by TwoPlusCute

 

As early as the sun starts rising, the road fills with busy people setting their tents, tables and produce. They line up on both sides of the road and leave a wide corridor between, for the buyers. The sidewalks are used for storing the extra produce.

 

Produce, spinach, peppers, in a Greek farmer's market, photo by TwoPlusCute

 

Soon after, the first customers come rushing in, looking for the best items and the best price. “The early bird gets the worm” fits perfectly the situation as the earliest customers get the best stuff, being able to choose from the whole lot that is displayed. (But the late birds get lower prices!)

 

Many varieties of olives at a Greek farmer's market, photo by TwoPlusCute
Yep, these are all olives!

Usually, those early birds are elder people that:
– weren’t partying last night and therefore are willing to get up early
– are used on early risings
– look deceptively fragile but are cunning and determined buyers.

 

Farmer's market in Greece, bustling with shoppers, photo by TwoPlusCute

 

A couple hours in, the market is bustling and it gets really difficult maneuvering between carts, people and bags of groceries. The sellers are shouting their goods and there is often some haggling going on.

My grandma is one of the best hagglers: ever seen a tiny, over 90 years old gal, shaking her fist to a way taller guy (a seller of olive oil), threatening him that “this oil better be good, ORELSE!”? He laughed and acted like he was scared, then he offered to help my grandmother by carrying the heavy metal container (40-42 pounds of olive oil) for her.

 

Onions, potatoes, produce, at a Greek farmer's market, photo by TwoPlusCute

 

The sellers are experienced merchants that are quite interactive and expressive. They will shout and laugh and frown if you try to haggle with items they have “priced to sell”. And they might flirt or tease. They will often invite you to try their produce and sometimes they throw in gifts when you buy something. Like a handful of beans, or a couple of tomatoes.

 

Carrots, celery and beetroots at a farmer's market in Greece, photo by TwoPlusCute

 

Or…they just might invite you behind their bench and take a photo of you (which I cropped out because I am shy AND because I had a bad hair day – a really bad one):

 

Selling olives at a farmer's market in Greece

 

I regret not getting more photos of the different kinds of legumes and beans and watermelons and tomatoes and cucumbers and aubergines and kiwis and aaaall the other goodies but, at least I have a few,

Tips to survive the experience at a Greek farmer’s market:

– Go early(-ish)
– Be patient, there will be a lot of pushing with so many people trying to maneuver.
– Smile; works wonders
– Get one of these carts (trust me I went once without it – it wasn’t funny carrying uphill 40+ pounds of produce)

 

Shopping carts for a farmer's market in Greece, photo by TwoPlusCute

 

As the day moves on, the prices start to drop because the merchant farmers know most of the heavy shoppers already bought their goods and now is the time to sell their remaining produce and merchandise. On a good day, very little is left.

The best stuff sells early on and any leftovers can be sold at a – significantly – lower price at the end of the day. Frugal shoppers can find great bargains near the closing of the market.

 

Produce at a farmer's market in Greece, photo by TwoPlusCute

 

Have you ever been to a farmer’s market in your country or abroad? Did you enjoy it and was it different? Oh and stay tuned because I pulled some – friendly – strings and got myself working at an organic farmer’s market for a whole day! It was a blast. Can’t wait to tell you all about it. 🙂

 

ps. If anyone wonders, all the prices shown are in euros and they are per kilo (approx 2.2 pounds)!

 

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13 thoughts on “Let’s go to a Greek farmer’s market!

  • January 12, 2016 at 4:55 pm
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    I love going to markets, it reminds me the ones we have here in Spain. We have vendors that sell organic and non GMO, although they are still few. You made me laugh with the cart, my mom uses it but I refuse to do it… I prefer to die first!
    Pili posted…Two Uses Tuesday 62

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  • December 17, 2015 at 6:45 am
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    When I first moved here my Mother-in-law brought me one of those carts. My husband laughed and said”I guess now you are an old lady, since you need this cart” Well since then he had to take it all back because he has been thankful on more than one occasion for that old cart! They are life savers 🙂

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    • December 17, 2015 at 12:20 pm
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      Haha yes! I was avoiding them for the same reason, that they were an “old lady” thing.

      Reply
  • December 11, 2015 at 8:03 am
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    How fortunate you are to get to experience this market…and to have such an awesome supply of quality produce to choose from as well! Our local market is small with only a few vendors, but the quality is excellent.. Merry Christmas!
    Wendi @ H2OBungalow posted…Festive Holiday Entry For A Small Space

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  • December 1, 2015 at 3:09 am
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    Being Greek I’ve been to the farmers market many times! One is every Thursday not far from my house but we usually visit it with my mother on Christmas week (it’s kind of a tradition for us) and there is also a different section with clothes and shoes and decoratives they sell at great prices! (That’s my favourite section lol)
    Ntina posted…My November tutorials round-up!

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    • December 3, 2015 at 5:00 pm
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      That’s such a cute tradition, going with your mom. 🙂
      My mom kept talking about the decor and rugs part but I am such a foodie, I never strayed from the edibles (and yet, in the four months I stayed, I lost weight – go Greece!). 😀

      Reply
  • November 5, 2015 at 5:21 am
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    Heaven! I wish I could teleport on over and go shopping. Look at all that yummy food. So, would I get laughed at if I asked if the food was organic (no pesticides used and non GMO)? I went to a local market here and the farmer told my husband that he does not believe in organic farming. What the !@#$! ? Geesh, it was not that long ago that organic farming was the normal way of farming. I have had food straight from someones garden and OH MY was it some of the best food I had ever eaten. I actually felt my body getting nutrients from the food.

    Now I want to go to a farmers market. Thanks. 😉 lol

    Oh, I love the picture of you even with half a head. Ha!

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    • November 13, 2015 at 7:08 am
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      You wouldn’t get laughed at but, since they sell traditionally raised (with pesticides), they would try to argue that their produce is just as fine. Legally, we do NOT have GMOs produced in Greece (unless someone is doing it illegally and in hiding). In fact, we “won” an European Union exclusion from the cultivation of GMOs on our land.

      See here: http://www.euractiv.com/sections/agriculture-food/latvia-greece-win-opt-out-monsanto-gm-crop-317150
      This past august, ONLY TWO countries asked to opt-out from growing gmos, GREECE and LATVIA. And we had to fight for the right to oppose as a country against a company.
      Crazy eh?

      Like you, I once had a tomato straight from a garden and even after 2 and a half decades, I still remember it’s amazing taste. As for “not believing in organic farming”…Nobody who has raised organic produce or simply had some to eat, can agree with that school of thought.
      I want to try my brownthumb with raised beds next spring. Wish me luck. 😀

      Reply
  • November 3, 2015 at 7:52 am
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    We have a lot of Mediterranean farmers here in Australia and they single handedly (almost) have transformed our food culture from bland meat and 3 veg to a wonderful array of produce. We have a small farmers market every Sunday and the farmers are always there with mountains of good food. It tastes so much better then the stuff from the supermarkets too.
    Stella Lee@ Purfylle posted…Two Uses Tuesday 53

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    • November 3, 2015 at 5:10 pm
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      Ohh, Stella Lee, that sounds like quite the culinary change! I’d be interested in seeing how your farmer’s market looks like. 🙂
      Irrelevantly, you guys are preparing for summer now and let me tell you I am quite jealous of that. It’s gotten cold here already.

      Reply
  • November 2, 2015 at 8:40 pm
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    Farmers markets are fun. Love the fresh produce. Thanks for sharing this.

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    • November 3, 2015 at 4:53 pm
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      You’d love the prices as well! They are pretty friendly. 🙂

      Reply

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