We’re going to Berlin in two days – do you have any tips or suggestions of things I shouldn’t miss? Tell me in the comments! And have a good holiday if you get one!
April is not turning out to be as magical as February or even March was, weather-wise. People were ready for a change in season and now Mother Nature has decided we won’t get our wish…just yet.
Walking around the market close to my house a sunny day two weeks ago, I brought out the new camera so I could hopefully get a few shots of the fresh produce and play around. I knew better than to start snapping pictures and waited until I got the eye of someone working in the booth, indicated my camera, and hoped for a nod or at least a smile.
There were many stall workers that wanted to pose for the camera, even though they weren’t my original target. Strangely, it was only the older ones. The younger ones were more skeptical, knowing that the pictures would probably end up in my dining room and not in a glamorous magazine. Worse, I might even be some undercover photographer doing an expose’ on market cleanliness or other corruption.
A few of them even stipulated, “Not of the prices.”
I assured them, “I’m here for the vegetables!”
But the older men asked for their pictures to be taken. Maybe they still have hope of “being discovered” or were at least glad for the attention.
So, here are my Market Men, and their wares.
This Market Man is actually giving us a demonstration, which they often do if they have time, and explaining to us how to use the zucchine as a grenade.
“You pull this pin like this…” he cocked back his arm like he was going to launch it at the next booth over. That booth owner noticed us gesticulating, noticed my camera, and wanted to get in on the fun.
“Don’t waste your time with that guy! Come over here! We got fresh stuff!” Luckily, no grenades were actually launched in my presence. I want to get a few of these and make stuffed zucchini next time I go back. I’ve found they are called Tondo di Piacenza or just tondo for short, or sometimes “Eight Ball” zucchine in English. I love their little round form.
This Market Man was giving out samples of melone, canteloupe.
“Can I take some pictures?” I pointed towards the fruit.
“Why don’t you take a picture of him?” His booth mate started laughing.
“Sure…can I?” He nodded his acquiescence, and stood shyly with the sun in his face. I love the little smile he’s giving me.
It was an early morning sun breaking through that day and still casting shadows as it peeked over buildings and canopies. It really lit up the green and red tomatoes he was selling.
This guy was by far my favorite. I am actually in no danger of being hit by that flying apple, and he continued to do different poses for me while showing off in front of his customers and fellow stallmates.
“What do you think? Should I throw it? Or just stand like this?” He kept laughing and talking.
And boy, did he have some artichokes! These are Carciofi Romani, the Roman artichoke variety. Can you see how big they are compared to the apples? I bet one could feed a family.
And Carciofi Sardi, Sardinian artichokes. The annual Artichoke festival in Castroville is going to happen in May – that’s pretty near my hometown. I once even sang a song about it with Burl Ives. But that’s another story.
So, my Market Men, here’s been your 15 seconds of fame on my blog….I hope you enjoyed it!
Susan in Italy says
Hey, I think I know some of these guys! You know how they’re at Porta Romana on Mondays, Piazza Piola on Tuesday, Loreto on Wednesdays, etc.
Very fun. I must say that when I went to Italy I thought there were a lot of very handsome men there, whatever the age!
nyc/caribbean ragazza says
Sara, did you photo shop those photos:)
The fruits and vegetables look amazing. I think it’s funny the younger men didn’t want their photos taken.
Wow those stalls look beautiful. I just love markets. There is just something so alive about them, and I love the people that sell their wares there – salt of the earth.
Have fun in Berlin! Have a Starbucks for me! haha And watch out for all the smoke. :OD
Ms. Adventures in Italy says
Susan, I know they run around the city all week! We have them on Saturdays.
Kalyn, that sounds like homework – I’ll start looking for some page turners :)
nyc, no, I actually didn’t touch these photos one bit! The light was with me that morning.
JennDZ, I am happy these guys are happy because I could never do this job…I wouldn’t be able to stay put!
Sara, darn you reminded me about the smoking ban that doesn’t exist there..ugh.
Beautiful veggies! Lovely photos :) Enjoy Berlin. It’s warm in Amsterdam – well, pretty warm, but not as warm as you get down there I think.
tracie b says
those zucchini tondi are great for stuffing!
Berlin has a lot of museums. From atop of the Reichstag building you have a great view over Berlin. You can also visit Hackesche H
If I tried to take photos of the fruit boys here they would throw all the fruit at me! One of them already threatened to sue if I put his photo on the blog!!
Susan from Food "Blogga" says
Oh, I just adore this post! Your photos of the men are fabulous, and I love the amusing dialogue. How bad is it that I can’t wait to visit farmers’ markets when I first visit Italy? Most people want to see The Vatican or The Leaning Tower of Pisa. Me? I’m thrilled with a beautiful artichoke. ;)
Aside from pretzels. that’s the home of Trippen shoes. My dream is to make a pilgrammage there someday. Have fun…
incredible photos! i love the guy with the flying apples!
Too cute..I love old Italian men, too!
You should make a Market-Man-of-the-Month calendar, like the Priest calendar on Shelley’s site several months back :)
Your post reminded me of when I lived in Sardinia for about a year. During the winter artichokes are plentiful and folks there eat seasonally. I ate artichokes so many different ways, I couldn’t eat them for years afterward! I love them again now.
Those green and red tomatoes look absolutely STUNNING. I’m having a blast digging through your archives. Haha.