Another Friday morning dawns, which had us heading off to a local market not far from where we are housesitting called Ortaca. It is one that we don’t usually go to, and we wanted to check out where more locals go than the smaller and more tourist-driven one we usually go to in Dalyan on a Saturday morning.
A few weeks ago it started with a wake-up call that was not welcome. It came in the form of a 6.7 magnitude earthquake. We were lucky as the area we are in was not hit. Unfortunately, the island of Kos and a small part of the coastal areas of Turkey was affected. Our hearts go out to the people and their communities. The Squire more than myself, knows full well how much an earthquake affects an area, read a small article about how his community was hit in the Edgecumbe [NZ] earthquake HERE.
On with life and that for us means going to a local market and there is a few vegetables and fruit with our name on them. First, we had to catch the local 16 seater bus, it’s new and completely fitted with seats. Well, I make a point in saying that things are finished as it is not a given here in Turkey. Why is it when I get into a bus with people watching us, and the bus driver is waiting for me to pass over some cold cash into his palm, I start fumbling in my bag, not finding those annoying coins. Then comes the promise to be more organised for the next bus journey. On the return, the cash is in the Squires pocket. Easy access wins hands down.
As with most regular local gatherings, we watch to see how the locals do things. With that in mind here are some things we do and have experienced in a market while here in Turkey.
1) Enjoy the market all you want! Have a coffee or tea with a sweet treat. It’s fine to walk through slowly and gawk at the beautiful fruits, vegetables, and odds and ends, [which is mainly very cheap quality clothing and other products, which for us is not worth looking at].
2) Unlike the French food markets, you help yourself, with a plastic bag opened and thrown on top of the vegetables or fruit. We do bring our non-plastic bags.3) The taking of photos of the food or vendor doesn’t seem to be a problem, and some like to have their picture taken and will willingly pose with a warm, friendly smile. Of course, you will need to have purchased off their table. It goes without saying!
4) The banter between customer and vendor is short and to the point. Their purpose is to make money. Unless there are other people to do the work, then chatter will be encouraged. Chatter will happen briefly when someone arrives at the stall with a small glass vessel full of tea with sugar cubes on the side with all on a tray.
5) If you don’t speak Turkish, no problem! Say Günaydın [Good Morning] and do what we do, use lots of hand gestures [friendly] and smile as you pass over your purchase and money. It never ceases to amaze me how much dialogue without a word being understood by both parties is communicated with no problems. All good fun! The majority of people under 30 seem to speak a splattering of English. Most have not heard the Kiwi version of English being spoken around this area too frequently! That’s when having a translation app on your mobile phone is very useful. This has helped us in many frustrated moments. The Turkish language is not an easy one to learn. Foreign languages full stop for myself are not easy to grasp! I have enough trouble with the English language!
6) The markets in this area, which is in a rural location, with more local Turkish people than foreigners the food selection tends to be very simple. Which is certainly not a bad thing. With a small selection of oblong peppers [capciums], chillis, cucumbers, zucchinis, eggplant, spring onions, tomatoes, onions, garlic, potatoes, lots of herbs [I love that I can buy bundles of fresh herbs: especially Italian parsley, dill, basil and other local varieties]. The fruits are more varied and range from cherries, melons, peaches, and occasionally bananas [these are expensive by Turkish standards]. The fruit and vegetables are cheap compared to most countries we have been to, and that is including New Zealand. The rule of thumb here in Turkey is that anything that is produced locally or manufactured will be cheaper. Imports are expensive. Which is not always the case back in New Zealand and again in other countries.
However, what vegetables and fruit that are available are very fresh and we now have a plant-based diet. With the odd tin of fish, eggs [freerange] and chicken. There is fresh fish available and meat, though we prefer to chose what the freshest is and the vegetables are the most enjoyable. Not forgetting the cheeses. Which so far has been a hit and miss experience. The feta has been the winner so far. How we miss the French and the UK cheeses! Of course not forgetting our home of New Zealand who also does excellent cheese and many other products, though secretly not as good as the French do cheese.
7) The best time to arrive at the market is around 8.00 am though the Dalyan one does not open until 8.30am. We thought that they would have opened earlier as it is sweltering in summer from 10 am. The reason for that we believe is that the vegetables are picked that morning and sold that day, they certainly taste like freshly picked vegetables.
Food from the paddock to the market.