Turkey has an amazing ability to produce the tastiest fruits and vegetables that I have ever eaten. The tomatoes alone should win a grammy or something! They are red, juicy and just plain delicious! And where do you go to buy these amazing treats? The local market, of course.
We have a few that we love going to, and our favorite one is in the next town over, called Cayyolu. We don’t go every week, but probably once a month or so. In the market, you can find any produce that is currently in season, along with olives, cheese, eggs, yufka (layered dough), some kitchen utensils, and even clothes. It’s not a one-stop shop, but it’s pretty close.
As you walk through the isles, the vendors call out, “Abla” or big sister. They then extoll the virtues of their wares, cut open a melon or give you a few nuts to try so that you can see for yourself. The price is right, too. I’ve bought a half dozen lemons for about 40 cents, a couple of pounds of potatoes for 60 cents, and the bargains go on and on. It’s almost criminal not to shop there.
I like watching the cay (tea) man deliver his steaming tulips of caffeine to the vendors and the young boys harassing the old ladies to let them carry their purchases. There’s even a couple of water boys that are paid a few lira here and there to wash down the stalls.
Nowadays the markets are often held under big metal, stadium-like structures to protect everyone from either the blinding sun of summer or the harsh winds of winter, but you can still find many towns and villages that welcome the canvas tents that are similar to the ones that they’ve been using for centuries.