Monday, 25 January 2016

Farmer's Market

The last couple of Saturdays I've been going to the closest farmer's market, in Newmarket Square, off Cork Street (in Dublin, Ireland, for my international readers). The walk down isn't the most beautiful, nor health-giving, being one of the biggest main roads in Dublin. But I content myself with the knowledge that this road, one of the 5 arterial roads of Dublin, runs along the same lines as the pre- Christian Slighe Dala route, which connected the magical hill of Tara with parts of Ireland. Imagining myself as the legendary princess Niamh Chinn Oir, I pass over the canal:

Which is still lovely, even in winter. Then down Cork Street, past this ruin, where I always imagine the many women who lived and loved in those rooms, tending those fires, feeding their babies. 

And arrive at the hipster-haven which is the Green Door Market. Open a couple of years now I think, and home to coffee, crepes and organic meat and produce. I bought a chicken there which cost about as much as a pet would, but I carried its carcass lovingly home, resisted the urges to vomit/bury it and it fed my family for a week. First roasted, eaten hot and cold, then the carcass boiled as bone broth. Did you know there's a plastic bag of giblets up its bum? We didn't. The second week I went to the market I brought my wheeled shopping trolley, and it was a much better method of transportin' me vittles. (Sorry, started watching Poldark last night)

The Green Door Market
I'm now a card-carrying member of the Dublin Food Co-op, which gives me a whopping 5% off my purchases there... hmm. I'd have loved 10%, as I still find the prices there are pretty high. I could get organic oats in a large-chain supermarket and save more money. But ethically I prefer shopping in the co-op so I pay the extra. I have to remind myself that I wouldn't bat an eyelid at a bill of 60 euros in Tesco, so why am I worrying about it in an organic context? Here I can buy actual organic, Irish produce, dusted with dirt, actual soil that they grew in. That's authentic, whereas hydroponically produced produce from Spain and Morocco is not. This will give us the full complement of nutrients, the other will not. It's a trade-off. As they say "Pay the farmer now or the doctor later"... (For the record we still buy some food (including fresh produce) in large-chain supermarkets, but we are increasing the amount of Irish organic stuff and decreasing the other.)

The Dublin Food Co-op
I love the cafe in the Food Co-op, there's a children's play area, where my baby was happy to leave the sling and suck on some plastic toys. I get a lovely falafel wrap from a stall holder and enjoy a cup of herbal tea. I also pick the brains of the poor herbalist on her stall, every week I've new questions and she answers them with grace. I swear by her tinctures too.  There was a seisiun there a couple of weeks ago, four ladies playing whistles and accordions, which gave a lovely atmosphere. There are also an abundance of babies in slings and breastfeeding toddlers, so I feel right at home.

Then to the bus stop with my purchases:

Chicken Licken, raw milk, celeriac, apples, salt and fennel among other things
The baby made friends with a lady on the bus, we swapped life stories in the way you do when you know you only have 10 minutes together, and we were home. I'm going to make a habit of this, it's a good walk in the open (but not fresh) air, and every time I go I see new things I want to try. This is a great way to find out what's in season and of course you can ask the stallholders how best to cook the produce.

Is there a Farmer's market near you? What do you love to buy?

Nee x

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