Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Farmers Markets in Turkey

As ever, the first place we want to go to when we travel are the local markets to see what's for sale. This one, I believe, was in Amasra; a small resort town on the Black Sea coast. For a small place it had a very good market. This is just one small bit of it. It seemed rather loose and sprawly, so no one shot of it gave a good idea of its size. We quickly learned that Thursday was the day to look for markets.

I did love all the middle-aged Turkish women in their traditional costume: babushka (wrong word, I know), slightly tatty acrylic cardigan, and baggy trousers or skirt in a dark, small floral print, none of which ever seemed to match. By the way, I was actually very impressed that in the month we were in Turkey I saw more middle-aged women on television than I think I've seen in 40 years of television in North America, and no-one ever seemed to feel that there was any reason to try to spiff them up, either. Excellent!

No idea what these are. (I'm going to be saying that quite a bit in this post.) I do think they are some sort of wild foraged green, but if anyone knows, I'd love to hear.

There were a lot of wild foraged greens. I recognize fennel in the front, but then...? Don't forget to click on the picture for a better view. Most of the remaing pictures were taken in Ayvalik, I believe.

Leeks in the upper right corner - Turkish leeks were spectacular; I've never seen such long white shanks - spinach next to them, fennel back in the lower left, with wild asparagus between it and the leeks. I don't know what's in the lower right. The vendor said it was "hot" and again, it seems to be a foraged vegetable.

Broccoli and cabbages, white turnips and black winter radishes - we saw a surprisingly large number of those - and some sort of cabbagey green. I bought something called "Black Cabbage" seed; I wonder if that's it?

All kinds of great things in this shot. Those show-stopping artichokes again, Romaine lettuce, red cabbage, radishes, green onions, fava beans, radishes, assorted herbs, carrots, tomatoes and lemons. Those roots in the clear plastic bag, lower centre of photo, are Jerusalem artichokes, or as they are called in Turkish, earth-apples. (Only, you know, actually in Turkish.) They were far more common than they are here, and they were fabulous. Large and smooth - Jerusalem artichokes can be awfully small and knobby - with very white, mild flesh. I wished I could have gotten some home.

Another treasure-trove of winter veggies. Look at the length of those leeks! I bought some seeds in the hope of emulating them. Then a large pile of celeriac (celery root). That was another root veggie that was far more common than it is here. The beets intrigued me, being a lighter red than beets here. I got some seed to try both of them too. Brussels sprouts were somewhat uncommon, while spinach seemed to be used a lot. We never got served any fennel though. There's the black radishes and turnips again, along with some lovely watermelon radishes.

The upper right is all foraged greens again. We saw a ton of these in the very large market in Ayvalik. I realized we'd seen people out foraging the day before, as we travelled to Ayvalik by bus. Lots of people out wandering around, eyes to the ground, carrying big plastic bags and a trowel. The white tubs in the foreground are raw olives. Ayvalik was a big olive growing and processing place, and the town was full of shops selling them in every way from bulk olives, to oil, to toiletries made with olives. Wish I could have brought back a big jug of oil, but yeah, that wasn't happening.

More foraged goodies, some home-pressed (?) olive oil, slices of squash, and in the background, a guy selling sausages. In general, not a lot of meat products in the markets. Cheese and dairy, yes. He looks very casual but these were a well-cured type of sausage, and he had some kind of certificate prominantly displayed.

Also there was generally a good selection of dried foods, from beans and grains, fruits, nuts and seeds, to all kinds of candy. We saw carob in pods quite a bit. (It's in a tub pretty much right in the centre there.) Sunflower seeds were a very popular snack, and they have varieties with amazingly huge seeds - and yes, we managed to get some as seed.

Most of this is repeat items, so I'll just talk about the bananas. Yes, they grow bananas in Turkey, along the south coast! They have their own variety, which is smaller and sweeter than the much more common Cavendish. Apparently Cavendish is becoming much more common there though, unfortunately.

Again, mostly repeat items, but I note the fruit in the back just below the cauliflowers. I can't tell if it's pears or quinces. It could be either, we saw them both. There were lots of quinces for sale in the markets, some of them apparently even for eating fresh! Another thing I wish I could have brought back. The man in the front is selecting some "black" carrots. They are used mostly, if not exclusively, for making juice. I was able to get some seed for them so we shall see how they do for us. Carrots are not our best crop. 

Once again, if anyone can identify some of those green veggies, I'd love to hear what they are and how they are used.


Lisa R-R said...

Perhaps some of the vegetables are named in this DeliciousIstanbul post?
Thanks for the amazing photos.

Magnolius T. said...

Wow! Great pictures. I would love to go to Turkey - my husband is a bit iffy on the idea though. I am so surprised to hear that they grow bananas there.