I can only assume that Greece has modern grocery stores like we do in Canada, but all those many years ago, when we camped in Kardamyli, the grocery shopping was limited. The town was small and so was the selection of groceries. A few stores had some boxes of tired vegetables but a welcome sight was the vegetable truck. Notice the metal tub to put the vegetables in on the old-fashioned weigh scales. The man with the cigarette was the owner. He amazed me with the speed at which he switched the weights around on the scales to find the balance and calculated the price of the vegetables I bought.
Meager pickings though. After a while we craved some good shopping and a little boost to our boring diet. A trip to Kalamata was called for. The famous olive town was only about 31 kilometers from Kardamyli, so off we went with Lazarus the tailor’s family along for the ride. Lazarus, the owner of a handmade clothing shop, had become a good friend to us while we were in Kardamyli that summer. We learned that the Greeks like to do everything together, as a group. They were our tour guides through the markets of Kalamata.
Remember the temperatures were in the 90s Fahrenheit. Fish market first – little or no refrigeration or ice. Quick sales were the order of the day.
Would you prefer pork, hung out in the warm air? Buy it “quick before it melts.”
I’m not a fan of mutton, but they serve a lot of it in Greek restaurants. Here in the market you can buy any part of the animals. There’s no extra charge for the flies. The butcher stood guard over the sheep heads, whacking them every couple of minutes with the broad side of his large knife. A swarm of flies would leave the inside of the head when it was whacked , fly around buzzing, “Who did that?” and then, receiving no answer, follow the leader back inside the sheep head.
But now we come to my favourite section of the market — the vegetables. I wished we had a bigger van so I could buy everything in sight.
I’m not a vegetarian, but it wouldn’t have been difficult to become one. If you ever go to a Greek market, you won’t need a lot of money, but be sure to bring a very large shopping bag.
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