The local

I have almost talked Jem into making regular photo posts on this blog.  It requires a bit of a rehaul of the site structure but otherwise not so difficult.  I've got as far as having him graciously provide me with this little photo essay of our local - Agenskalns market.  It is definitely one of the highlights of living in this part of Riga.  A big ornate red-brick building, it is no longer at its zenith.  I am expecting one day to wake up and read in the news that the building has been bought by an upstart developer to transform into a cinema complex/department store.  But until then, I love going there to do our regular food shop. 

Especially in summer and autumn, when local produce is sold there in the area outside. We buy beautiful home-grown tomatoes, chantarelle mushrooms and bilberries picked in the forest, freshly squeezed apple juice in big 3 litre glass jars.  Indoors we get fresh milk which is ladled from metal milk cans, and meat which is half the price and double the quality of supermarket meat, jars of honey straight from the apiarist.  In the little wooden shacks around the perimeter of the market, we can find little antique stores with rusty sewing machines out the front, second hand clothes stores with faded sheets and small balls of wool scraps, tiny holes in the wall offering every kind of screw or nail available to man.  If we were differently inclined, we could also get cheap shots of vodka at the cafe, rich and creamy slices of cake from the baker.  If we were more organized, we could get most of these products sans packaging - and filled into our own reusable containers - our own cartons for eggs, jars for cream, bottles for milk. 

What I love about the market is also that it is not a yuppy farmer's market - it is simply a continuation from a earlier time, when produce was local and container recycling was a given. Some of the meat sellers still have white Soviet vendor's hats and heavy blue eyeshadow, and beehive hairdos.  Not so inspiring in winter, when the market is smelly and freezing, and fruit and veg is mostly imported, except for big buckets of salted cucumers and jars of pumpkin in marinade. 

3 Responses so far.

  1. Courtney says:

    I love a good market, one where you know you are getting good quality local products. This market sounds fantastic. After years of Asian markets the milk, honey and apple juice all sound quite exotic.

  2. Your markets sound fantastic, I bet they even that the superb smell of olives and salami and spicy things. Ours are good but are of course under tarps, stinking hot, often co located with trash and treasure and countless bizarre asian greens. melx

  3. Mamma M says:

    Oooh....give me a yuppy farmer's market any day! as long as the farmers are being supported... to each their own!

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