A market is like a candy shop. I cannot resist the colorful and fresh produce

In contrast to many northern European countries, it is much more accepted to go shopping on a market in the southern ones. Will this tradition die with the regular market visitors?

I don’t really like to buy my fruit and veggies in the supermarket. However in my full-agenda-life in The Netherlands I used to do my shopping in a nearby ecological shop which offered products which looked fresh to me. Now I have some more time to fill in freely, I regularly visit a market. Which is easy since there is one on my doorstep every week.

Even in a big city as Milano markets are popular. I feel very happy when I pass by the colorful stalls offering mainly local (read: Italian) produce. And every time I visit a market I am amazed by the number of visitors it receives. It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is the lines in front of the stalls are always long.

It must be mentioned that the average age of a market visitor is (way) above mine. And that is reflected by the lines in the supermarket which emerge in the hours right after offices close. The in-house butcher makes a dash speed right before closing time by serving all under 40 working men and women.

Recently a national newspaper reported on the closure of many small shops. Not only the economic crisis, but also the high rental rates and the competing prices and convenience of big supermarkets and other retailers are fatal.

I agree that it takes some effort to visit a market. You need to be aware of the short opening hours. Thereby the market is – except when you live in a market addicted city as Milano – usually only once a week. And when the weather is not on your side, it might be a tough job to carry all your stuff home. But maybe you should take it in another way.

Did you ever hear the owner of the average supermarket hear you explain why he sells Dutch – in stead of Italian – potatoes? And did he teach you how to conserve best your carrots? Or did he give you a bag of apples for free because you are such an appreciated costumer? I guess not.

So maybe remember your young and vital age which enables you to carry some heavy bags and to walk around in the rain for an hour or so. Then think of all the hard working market men (which are usually a lot older than you are) waiting for you to hear the proud story of his home-grown eggplants or delicious nectarines.

Where do you go next time your fruit basket needs a fill-up?