Get to know a city at the farmer’s market

Get to know a city at the farmer’s market

by Anna Leigh Bagiackas
Stripes Europe

Although I am the type of traveler who dives deeply into restaurant research prior to visiting a new city, I also love the simple thrill of making a meal out of a few things at the farmer’s market and munching as I stroll through, eyeing up everything it has to offer. Finding out when and where a local farmer’s market is located is often one of the first things I do when planning a trip. Will this new city have a market every day? Or will I be there the one day a week when it’s open?

Wandering the stalls looking at all the different fruits, vegetables, flowers, spices, cheeses and other specialties of the local area, I try to imagine what it is like to live in that city and shop at the market every week to see what’s new and fresh. Sometimes I’ll grab a couple of peaches—my favorite summer fruit—or a little crate of strawberries I can snack on while I wander. Other times I stand in line to get whatever popular street food is getting cooked up. One of my favorites snacks like this was “socca” in Nice, France, which is a crepe-like bread made of chickpea flour.

A visit to the farmer’s market not only reveals what the special foods and goods are in that city (and offering great gift ideas!), but it also gives you a chance to interact with the farmers and get a taste of truly local foods and flavors.

Here are a few markets worth checking out:

London, EnglandBorough Market

Head to one of the oldest markets in England for mealtime! There are so many vendors and great little restaurants, cafes, bakeries around the market in addition to the stands of produce, pastries, cheeses and other goods that it will be nearly impossible to leave without eating anything on the spot.

Nice, France Cours Saleya Market in the Old Town

Situated near the coast, this market is overflowing with flowers, spices, parcels of lavender and beautiful fruits and vegetables. Look for a little stand selling socca to taste this regional treat as you peruse, then grab a seat at a nearby bistro for a coffee.

Venice, ItalyRialto Market

In the heart of Venice, this market specializes in fish and seafood (so it might smell a bit), but it also has gorgeous fruits and vegetables. There is nothing quite like biting into a juicy peach or apricot, juice running down your arm, as you take in the sunshine, canals and local Venetians doing their shopping.

Paris, FranceMarché International de Rungis

One of the largest markets in the world, you can plan to spend the better part of a day exploring and celebrating all things gastronomy. Due to the sheer size of the market, tours are available so you can discover the hidden gems and get a full experience of what the market has to offer. Fresh produce, flowers and plants, fish, meat, cheese, patisserie and other baked goods and the latest trends in food can all be found.

Berlin, GermanyMarkthalle Neun

Located in the Kreuzberg neighborhood, this market has a range of offerings throughout the week, with lunch options Monday through Friday and the biggest market days being on Friday and Saturday. They are committed to supporting the local food economy, using sustainable practices, education and rethinking the food system. Find fresh produce, eggs and dairy products, meat, cheeses, coffee and drinks as well as pantry items.

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