Monday, September 24, 2012

Cornucopia


The Datca market is created by tenting several blocks of village streets.

Jennifer’s salad days are market days.

Datca (pronounced: Datcha) has a great market. We went the day before to do a little “recky” or reconnaissance. On the day before, it’s common for a few families to set up tables or have their goods presented in bins and baskets on blankets or rugs.

The market area, surprisingly, is not the villages open plaza by the waterfront, but a street behind the government building. During the recky, it was just a street. When we arrived the next day, a stretch of several blocks had been transformed into an oriental bazaar. A patchwork of tarpaulins were strung from the buildings and propped up by tree branches.

The wind was yanking this tent all around, making the pole in the middle wobble. It's a wonder the tents don't collapse, but they got it figured out.
Table upon table presented more or less the same mounds of colorful fruits, vegetables, olives, nuts, and spices. Side streets featured cheeses, clothes and olive oil.

Buying "white" at the Datca market. 
Going to market with Jennifer is fun because she takes such delight in this cornucopia.

“This is just amazing,” she keeps repeating.

My role is walk behind her with the backpack at the ready to grab the goods from the vendors.

Jennifer’s strategy of provisioning at market is guided less by the type of produce offered and more by color.

One of dozens of similar stands at the Datca market. How do people decide from whom to buy?
She suddenly spins and bolts toward one table exlaiming, “Ooh, look, he’s got YELLOW peppers!”

Sometimes, it by smell.

Buying some red.
“I just had to get a couple of these tiny melons because they smell so good.”

She admits there is a certain emotional element to the process as well.

“It’s just like Rachel says, ‘I buy the vegetables I feel bad for.’”

Deep purple playing at the Datca market.
With her bag in one hand and holding up the zucchini in the other, she looks a little like the Statue of Vegetable Liberty. I can almost hear her adding, “Give me your wretched ...”

Sympathy for the vendor can also play a significant role.

“Shall we buy some cucumbers from him? Look at his face!”

Her own question was answered already with the cucumbers she was holding.

“These are the most motely-looking cucumbers ever, but he’s just got the sweetest face.”

The man with the sweet face sits left. And notice the bucket of soda bottles on the plastic crate: Those are filled with local olive oil. Sometimes you see local milk offered in soda bottles. 
The backpack I schlepped already was cutting pretty heavily into my shoulders. By now I was carrying additional plastic bags.

“Greens, we need some greens,” the provisioner by palette proclaimed.

Does this qualify as buying both orange and green simultaneously? We thought these were limes, but one on displayed show it to be an orange on the inside. Limages, perhaps?
A few stands later she admitted that she might be going over the top.

“I’m acting like I’m crazed,” she said, “but ...” and she trailed off.

“But,” I was going to add that it was the last market we would see for a while since our next marina was not near any village.

Instead, she completed the sentence with, “but it’s part of my charm, right?”

She is shameless in her addiction.

This became a bit of a shoulder-rubbing grab for the best pink and white beans.
"I love tusseling it out with the locals." She said it in regards to haggling over prices, but it applied here too.
On the walk back to the harbor, guilt set in.

“Did I overdo it?” she asked.

I was silent and smiling.

“Oh my god, I went absolutely fucking bonkers!”

Later, at the boat, I sat in my corner of the settee browsing my usual websites, while she unpacked and stowed.

“Oh my god! More peppers!”

Onions, two varieties of egg plant, lemons, zucchini, red peppers, yellow peppers, tomatoes, eggs, cherry tomatoes, and garlic.
And a while later:

“The fridge is full and I’m still unpacking!”

Lettuce, carrots, olives, parsely, dill, cheeses, leeks, and more than I can remember now.
Pears, nectarines, plums, apples, those oh-so-good-smelling melons, and those funny "limages."
But guilt eventually gave way to gratitude.

“I’m so excited. I can make a million things. I can grill, I can sauté. I can make leek tarts. Or I can make zucchini and peppers layered with cheese and onions; like a vegetarian musaka.”

And even later:

"You know, it's all about the rainbow. You have to eat all the colors."

5 comments:

abbot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
abbot said...

we need pics of the dishes created from all those foods

looks like the new coldplate is working well, maybe too cold, freezing stuff ?

(I think those "limages" are actually unripe mandarins)

judymac said...

Good job!!! It all looks so good....I'd love a farmers market like that....are they there once a week? or more often?

Nest Desings and things said...

looks amazing!!! and now for some photos of the food!! and recipes too:))
xox

Mathias said...

That coldplate does get icey, and we can't put delicate things next to it. It keeps the fridge a nice cold temperature.