Image by NatalieMaynor via FlickrSo here's another difference between Turkey and the US.
In Turkey, I visited my neighborhood pazar (farmer's market) once a week. A local street closed down and farmer's hoisted their colorful tarps, tents and cloth umbrellas over their crates of veggies. The smell was intoxicating. Fresh herbs mixed with tomato, cucumber and melons...Oh, those melons were the best I'd ever eaten in my entire life! Vine ripe was not a term used lightly. Everything tasted like you grew it in the backyard.
I expected to get a deal there, versus the higher prices found in the supermarket chains like Migros. If I missed my pazar, I could always stop at the one across town the next day. I brought my market tote, which never went out of style in Turkey, btw. I'd fill it up with fabulous fresh produce, maybe some köy yumurta (village eggs) with yolks the color of ripe apricots, and walked away happy as a lark with more than enough food for the week. The idea was, the farmer had cut out the middle man, so I got more for my money.
It's a different story here. On Saturday mornings I have to get up at the crack of dawn and fight the crowd for a two dollar organic tomato. My local farmer's market here is quaint, with small white wooden stalls and local musicians to match. But if you're later than 9 o'clock, it's slim pickins, and the eggs are way expensive. If I miss the early shift there, I can always go to the regional farmer's market, which is open more days than just the one, but stocks less "beautiful" stuff in the steel building near the airport. I can also get some pretty decent eggs at Harris Teeter for less. Where's the fun in that? Sometimes I just say "bah humbug" to it all and head to Trader Joe's.
I can't really blame the farmers here though. Land is expensive, so they don't have the same efficiencies of scale that a farmer in Turkey still has. And even though I know the farmer's market here is expensive, I get excited when a new one opens. And I still get up on Saturday mornings to fight the crowd and support their lifestyle. After all, if I keep going, they'll keep farming.