A market can really be the hub of a community! Our own St. John’s Farmer’s Market is growing and in a few years will be in a permanent location and, hopefully, open full-time. As a member of the Market Co-op I was at the meeting in October where there was a unanimous vote to pursue the permanent move to the former bus depot. It was an exciting evening discussing all that the Market can become!
Lisbon has stunning markets full of character and history. Some have been recently renovated to attract the young crowd and reflect the growing posh-foodie culture while maintaining the traditional meat, fish, cheese, and produce stalls. When I visited the markets this time I was not just appreciating the produce and the food but also getting inspired and very pumped about what we can accomplish in St. John’s.
Opened in 1892 the Mercado da Ribeira is the biggest and most famous market in Lisbon. It used to be where all the restaurants came to pick up supplies before MARL opened to the North of Lisbon. Presently half of the market has long stalls where you can find the freshest meats, seafood, and veggies. The other half is a huge food court surrounded by restaurants kiosks with international food but mainly delicious Portuguese dishes. A few of these kiosks belong to top Portuguese chefs (fine cuisine with a market flare is pretty interesting). A couple of stores selling Portuguese souvenirs also populate the market.
My neighbourhood market is the Mercado de Campo de Ourique. It was founded in 1934 and through my childhood is where I used to go with my grandmother to pick up fish and bread. When we visited the market in 2013 it was in the mists of a full makeover and the result is stunning. Surrounding an intimate sitting area there are the new kiosks of gourmet food, sushi, wines, and pastries together with the longstanding produce, cheese, and bread kiosks. The fish and the meat market are to the side, on a separate area. Every week there are also DJ hosted evenings and live music.
The beauty of these year-round markets is that they are packed with people! A mix of tourists but mainly residents of all ages that go to the market to eat, have a drink, and of course buy the ingredients for their next home-cook meal. They are lovely and lively spaces that I hope we can reproduce here in St. John’s.