The markets in Groningen are the best. THE BEST.
I always wanted to go to farmers markets in the states, but I never had my behind in gear enough to make a list, drive to one on the correct day and time, find parking, wander about for the best prices, determine if I was saved or lost money on the things I needed, etc.
A lot of excuses, I know. Especially when it’s important to support the markets and the healthy produce, but I was lazy. I admit it.
Here in Groningen though, we live a five minute walk to the city center, and three days a week, the entire day, they are set up in the main square, The Fisch Maart (the Fish Market). It’s amazing!
There are fresh fish stands too, along with fried fish stands (yum), candy stands, nut stands (which smell divine when they roast them), mushroom stands, spice stands, juice stands, meat stands, and of course The Netherlands as the largest producer of cheese – giant, beautiful cheese stands.
We discovered the ease and great prices of our fresh food market a few weeks in living so near the city center, and finally made an afternoon of it one Saturday.
Let me tell you, it is a beautiful thing to walk through these rows upon rows of fresh fruit and vegetables. The photographer inside me begins to itch, but it feels weird to take pictures unless we buy, so I only get some of the shots I want.
It feels wonderful to walk in and out of these fresh food stalls, on the cobblestone streets, inside my language bubble while I listen to the guttural Dutch around me. The vendors smile and break into effortless English when H and I ask for things, even if we try out a little Dutch at first. Much different than in S. Korea, where I learned a bit of the language more quickly out of necessity!
Bags heavy with our favorite fruits and veggies, we usually walk a little slower back towards home, through the outdoor café tables with couples that watch the passerby, little shops with the owners that poke their heads out to check the weather, and restaurants with loud and boisterous patrons.
A small ten minute walk back, we cross over the canal full with boat houses and make it to our doorstep, across from a specialty grocery store, café bar, another little café that fits about five people, and next door to other apartment homes.
Sometimes it rains, sometimes it’s a beautiful blue day, but we walk to the market just the same. Rain or shine, the market is always open – even when there is a carnival set up in its space (which totally happened the other day). It just sets up in the street, next to the neon lights and screaming rides. I love this place.
Do you have a favorite fresh food market or place to shop where you live?