Guide to Croatia

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Something about Croatian greenmarkets

One of really cool things in Croatia are green markets.
They offer fresh produce seasonally. People bring from their farms and gardens amazing variety of fruits and vegetables.
Recently there are more and more tomatoes from covered plantations( Dutch or some other resistant seed, commercially accepted, well advertised and with yucky taste, big red, not juicy...horrible)and more people are reselling big,lousy and watery onions or in summer season somebody very inventive will even import plastic tasting figs/killer for any palate/ although local are delicious and tasty.
It is a very funny market with uneven and absolutely not standardized offers.It is really shame that these "new" seeds started taking of seriously. Good part is that people remember how things are suppose to taste and look for it.
Green markets in Zagreb are biggest and they do not lack in anything. Main one has amazing selection of apples ( small , big, disproportional, not pretty) from the villages near by.With apples it is almost like with the world of mushrooms/and one can find amazing mushrooms in season/they come in very different forms-you can still recognize it as an apple -and bring thousand for cider, one for strudel, a bit tart, one for pie, one for munching on it and so on and on.Many of them had never seen a pesticide or anything chemical.
That is another great thing about so called remote,poor or old households and farms.....avoiding chemistry.
Pears or peaches from wine yards are fruits of randomly placed trees-maybe strange looking to an eye used to giant shapes of commonly seen peaches or pears...but with mouth watering quality.
Some of the potatoes still come from 50 or more years old seeds just well accustomed to local climate and slightly changed by it.
Carrots and other greens for soups differ a lot from one stand to another but still follow basic standards and it is almost impossible to find a bad bunch.
Spinach and green peas can be tricky and one has to know the "source". Green peas can be so amazingly tiny and a perfect snack.
Lettuce can be accompanied with numerous wild leaves and grasses/some sweet and some with more serious bitterish flavor/.They will either come in mixed form or separately and they are all common ancestors of that one green head of your choice called-lettuce.
Squash, beans/dozens of different kinds/, egg plant, kale, red beats are common thing to be seen. They are all tended by hands which are envisioning different final product. And when it comes to plums and apricots....Vow.
There is a diary section. And butchers and dried meat sections.There is a fishers market and flower market/ and some of them are eatable in candied or other form...You can decorate table and cake with for example candied pansies/and bakers and so on and on
Before I go -without control- and cover everything,it is an experience one has to have.
It may not be life changing but enriching it definitely is.
Point is-if you have an opportunity to cook while in Croatia do your own shopping and do it with things from green market.
It is loud, mainly in open, clean and well maintained,make your selection and trust your instincts.
Taste what is in front of you and do not judge book by the covers.


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