Muitos Mercados

March 14, 2008 at 9:17 am 18 comments

Old women at meeting at market 
Old women greet at Lisbon market

I’m here!  I’m here!  I swear I’m here!  I realize it’s been three whole days and then some since I got back from my trip, and I haven’t dished out the goods yet. I’m despicable, I realize.  I’d use excuses like “major life change in the midst of unfolding” and “200+ emails waiting for me in my inbox when I got back that I’m still addressing” and “600+ pictures that still need edited and uploaded” and so forth.  But really, I need to get my priorities straight. 

First and foremost, you need to know how wonderful Portugal is. 

Goods at Lisbon market
Beautiful offerings of Lisbon’s market

So let’s start with the markets I saw during my tirp.  The Portuguese culture is one rich in agrarian heritage and is still rooted in bringing fresh local produce to market every day.  I was astonished by how many markets there were, one in every single town I visited to be precise, usually matter-of-factly known as “mercado municipal” and centrally located so residents could stop by every day to pick up whatever it was they needed for dinner that night.  It seemed so natural, this town produce market system, but it frankly puts American farmers markets to shame in many ways. 

Poultry for sale at Barcelos market
Poultry for sale at Barcelos’ rural market

Farmers markets here are still rather novel – growing, but still not the standard way everyone gets all their vegetables and fruit, let alone their meats, cheeses, and baked goods.  In towns up and down Portugal, large and small, these markets are a long-standing way of procuring seasonal produce and just about every other food commodity that can be made locally.  Most of the produce found at these mercado municiples was locally grown on small farms in the surrounding outskirts of town.  I have never seen so many wonderful little urban farms, most less than half an acre in size but all highly productive.  I’ll talk more later about the farming I observed.    For now, just know that the goods you see for sale in these market pictures are proof of sustainable agriculture at its best; a sustainable system that’s been withstanding the test of time and turbulent Portuguese politics, some that have included taking farms away from their individaul land owners in times past, with great fortitude. 

What I snagged at Barcelos market
What I snagged at Barcelos’ market: light airy loaf of bread, beautiful flowers, head of broccoli, an orange, a handmade figurine, a traditional cockrel statue, potatoes, amazing golden plums and strawberries, and two pastries – one wiht apple (amazing) and one with layers of flaky pastry topped with chocolate and nuts (good, but not great).
Chicks for sale garlic
Barcelos Market All types of rope for sale at Barcelos
 Egg lady at Barcelos Another matronly merchant at Barcelos
local cheeses for sale Bacelos cockrels for sale at market
 Spiral rolls were very tasty Gorgeous local breads at Barcelos market 
Barcelos Market 
Lisbon market overhead
Olives Turnips and some sort of herb
butcher fish mongers
Lisbon market aisle Dried Beans
Discussions Apples
Lisbon market
Porto Market Looking down on best bakers in the world
Beans contemplating
dried garlic and peppers vendors washing up
Fish eyes
Porto market roves bread
Porto market
Click here if you’re now hungry for more photos of Portugal

Entry filed under: Extra Credit, Taste of Travels. Tags: , , , .

I’m Blushing… Dreams and Lemons

18 Comments Add your own

  • 1. OrSoSheSaid  |  March 14, 2008 at 9:22 am

    What an excellent photog you are! Thanks for sharing!!!

  • 2. Jennie  |  March 14, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Thanks! 🙂

  • 3. gintoino  |  March 14, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Beautiful pictures jennie!! Really beautiful! It reminded me lots of things I love about my country, and why I love living here. I’m so glad you enjoyed your stay in Portugal Jennie. Thank you for sharing you photos with us.
    By the way its “mercado municipal” 😉

  • 4. Jennie  |  March 14, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Gintoino – 🙂 Thanks for the correction… I was not entirely sure and then decided it was better to get the post up instead of waiting another day until I could go home and check my notes. 🙂 So glad you like the pictures. There are many more to come. Your country is so beautiful, it was so easy to take lovely photos!!

  • 5. Jennie  |  March 14, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Oh, Gintoino, that reminds me, I have another question for you. In the photos above, there’s one in the Lisbon market with the turnips on the end of the walk way. There is a big pile of finely cut green stuff there. I saw it in every market but never saw a sign for what it was. Can you tell me?? Is it an herb?

  • 6. gintoino  |  March 14, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    It’s “caldo verde”, finelly choped portuguese kale (“couve galega”). It’s used for soups especially the most tradicional one -“caldo verde” (its a soup made of potatoes and choped kale, with a bit of “chouriço” and olive oil.

  • 7. Angela Potter  |  March 16, 2008 at 7:49 am

    These are wonderful photos! They make me want to travel to Portugal.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • 8. celine  |  March 16, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    this looks so wonderful! i’m going to portugal in may – I can’t wait! i know now I HAVE TO visit the markets!

  • 9. Neide  |  March 16, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    What beautiful pictures, Jennie! And your blog is excelent.

  • 10. Allison  |  March 16, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    This looks like paradise!

  • 11. JennDZ_The Leftover Queen  |  March 17, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Wow that looks just splendid! What great photos! 🙂

  • 12. Jennie  |  March 17, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Gintoino – Ah hah! Now it makes sense why it was absolutely everywhere! I saw that soup all over menus but wasn’t sure if it was vegetarian or not. It smelled delicious! Thanks for solving the mystery. 🙂

  • 13. Jennie  |  March 17, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Angela, Celine, Neide, Allison, and Jenn…. Many thanks to each of you and, yes, Portugal is paradise/wonderful/heaven/splendid/you-name-it! There are more pictures to come, I swear! Just been so busy since I got back. 🙂

    Celine – if there are any questions I can help answer about your upcoming trip, don’t hesitate to ask! The markets are definitely worth checking out, both for buying stuff and people watching. 🙂

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