Saturday, 9 February 2013

Piles & Piles & Piles of Peppers: The Urgüp Market

My love affair with Farmers’ Markets began 24 years ago when I was backpacking through Turkey with my husband. We came across a local market in what was then the small town of Urgüp, in the Cappadocia region. It lay in the heart of a dry & arid landscape full of whimsical hoodoos and the most amazing underground cities carved out of the volcanic pumice rock that covered the countryside.

Look closely at this photo and you'll see rooms carved out of the hillside
and cone shaped rock formations that were also people's homes.
It was getting to be late fall, the mornings were crisp and the fresh produce was coming in by the truckload. The Urgüp market wasn’t a fancy one with tents awnings, tables and beautiful crafts and jewelry, prepared foods and delicious treats like those you’d find at our market. It was a strictly utilitarian fruit & veggie market: flat bed trucks backed into the town square in a line, tailgates opened up and contents for sale; and tables were fashioned out of planks and wooden crates that were heaped with pears, apples, gigantic carrots, and small lemons with a central weigh scale placed behind. 

The Urgüp Market, look at the mountains of peppers
cascading off the yellow truck.
What astounded me… and this image has stayed with me ever since… were the farm trucks piled high with mountains of hot banana peppers! Never had I seen so many hot peppers in one place before! Their sheer numbers, and the towering height of their piles, astounded me! Their vivid colours… the bright yellows, set against the deep purples of their neighbouring eggplants were incredibly beautiful. Just look at that pile! Have you ever seen so many in your life!? 

Sure, a farmers’ market is hands down, the best place to stock up on fantastically fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, but it is so much more… and this first exposure to a rustic market in a foreign land taught me that even at its most basic, a local farmers’ market was a work of art. A scene of incredible beauty. And I have found that wherever I encounter them, in my adventures abroad or in my own neighbourhood, fruit and vegie displays stir my heart, even to this day.

I can’t wait to experience the beauty that our vendors will produce this season at our Southwest Edmonton Farmers’ Market. Look for artfully displayed produce at the following 2013 season’s fruit & veggie vendors at The Southwest Edmonton Farmers’ Market:

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