Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pinerolo's Gem-a Year Round Market

I'll admit it, I love markets, adore them.  
There I've said it, in case you didn't know.
What's not to love? 

 Friendly vendors....

colorful in fact 

and that's not even referring to the produce.
rainbow of cauliflower
or the colorful shoppers.
Fabrizio getting friendly with the cabbage and shoppers
It is always a delight to go to the local markets here in Italy. I have sought out markets over the years wherever I have lived, for the food, the bargains and the entertainment value of seeing what's on offer. Just a nosey around the stalls to see what's new and what looks good.  The people watching is always interesting too. I am so appreciative of the farmers and vendors efforts as our alpine garden is still covered by a thick blanket of snow making greens from our garden still a dream away.  Pinerolo has a long tradition of being a market town. 
Always a wonderful varied selection of salad greens
Leaf lettuce, Radicchio, Escarole,
The year round outdoor market that doubles as a parking lot has been held in the same location in the center of town for over 1,000 years, even as the surroundings have changed over the years. The large market is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays without fail, unless however those days fall on a holiday and then is held the day before. Italians take their holidays very seriously, just in case you know didn't know that.  The "Mercato dei Produttori Agricoli" is the smaller, very local produce only market that runs 6 days a week in a smaller piazza off from the main square and has everything under the sun and more. Definitely not a tourist market, but tourists love it for its atmosphere, energy, and rubber necking potential. Naturally, Pinerolo itself has many enticing shops that make it difficult to get away without a swift kick to your wallet if you are unable to resist the siren sound of the various specialty shops. The historic old town center has a pleasant atmosphere to wile away a few hours in the cafes or restaurants, indulging in the pastries, chocolates or gelato with your coffee. 
Cafe Ferraud cappuccino and award winning pastries
We are so lucky to have this market year round and people with green houses and the wear withal to work the land even in the bleak mid winter. I have shopped at times when in spite of their most valiant efforts the produce has frozen at the stall and their hands and cheeks are red to the point of turning blue, and still, there they are stoic and usually a friendly word even when it would pretty hard for most of us to suffer through that kind of cold or rain without some serious grumbling. I really do admire them. It's not an easy life. Most of them have come to this life through their families, a few  through conscious choice. Many have been bringing their wares to this very market for over 50 years or so. One couple who are both in their 80's, have never driven a car and bring their goods by bicycle, one with a trailer stacked to the sky sometimes. 
Reliable transportation
  If you have ever visited and stayed with us in our Bella Baita B&B, it usually doesn't take long before the conversation will include the Pinerolo market. Aside from all reasons I have mentioned and the fact that buying locally you are putting money directly into the hands of people that are working hard for those  €, I just plain admire these people and their determination and hard work. To have the fortitude to do the back breaking labor in the fields and greenhouses, they then load it all up and drag it to market and back again, some of them 6 days a week, no matter the weather. They stand when it is hand numbingly cold or drippingly miserable to sell their food because perishable goods don't wait for the weather to improve. The show must go on and we love to partake of this time honored ritual. We look forward to introducing you to this gem of a market with it's many facets and faces, our friends.
Some of our hard working Pinerolo market friends
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