Wednesday is market day and the crowds flock into town for the event which runs from about 8 a.m. until 1p.m. It occupies a large part of the town and most major roads are either closed or snarled so if you aren’t going to the market don’t go to Martina on a Wednesday. It’s a colourful spectacle as well as a good place to shop as prices are lower than most supermarkets and shops though quality throughout the market especially in the fruit and veg area needs watching. Try not to let the seller pick your fruit or you will be in for a surprise when you get them home. They have a sleight of hand that a conjurer would envy and you will wonder how all those bad oranges got in the bag. Do as the Italians do and hand him what you want him to bag. Lets take a canter around the market in pictures :
(If you want to enlarge them just click on the photo by the way). A fruit man with the first strawberries of the year selling for about €2.40 a kilo today . Most of the fruit is grown locally and brought in that morning.
This is my veg man who insisted one of his customers should star in the picture too. He farms nearby and brings his veg in on the 3 wheeler you can see to the right of the photo.
Now I go to this guy every week. He sells lupini which is a type of bean that you eat when having a beer as a snack. I first came across these in Portugal when living there in the early 80’s and was delighted to be re-united with them in Puglia. Seems the Romans were very fond of them as a snack and took them around their empire with them.
There is an art to eating a lupini because you don’t eat the skin only the inside of the yellow bean. So first timers normally once they have realised that no one else is eating the skin try with their fingers to get the skin off before getting it to their mouth. Experts put a small area of the bean between their front teeth and make a nick in the skin and then with some pressure with their forefinger and thumb pop the bean out of the skin and straight into the mouth. So now you know what to do if faced with a bowlful . They are superb and seem to make any drink go down better. Probably because they are soaked in brine and therefore like all bar snacks they make you thirsty.
The market whilst seemingly chaotic is actually divided up into areas where particular items are sold.
This is an area of the curtain and home fabrics area which heads off around about 5 streets.
Shoes and slippers for as far as the eye can see.
And flowers and plants plus another couple of streets of young trees such as olive and fig.
The bulk of the market is clothing but really aimed at the home market and not for a visitor unless you want to buy an American or British flag t-shirt etc.
Tomorrow I will let you know where to go when you need a break from shopping. The best coffee in town and of course the best watering hole in Martina Franca.