Experiencing the Public Market
When I was growing up, my mother would often talk of her Saturdays spent at the Jean-Talon Market in Montreal. For my grandparents, my mother and her brothers, going to the market was a Saturday ritual and a necessity. They would walk from their home to the market and afterwards, they would take the streetcar* home, carrying home live chickens, bunches of bananas (on a stalk!) as well as the regular fruits and vegetables.
Photo by m.a.r.c. via Creative Commons
Going to a public market today has a different purpose. Public markets now have festivals and tours. You can even attend workshops. Street entertainers juggle for fascinated children. Shoppers stop for a freshly squeezed juice. There may be some people rushing but generally meandering and strolling is more common.
Every day at the market is different. Every season has its charms: spring with its fresh flowers and warmer winds and summer with its tourists navigating shoppers and getting a taste of life in a foreign place.
Photo by stillwellmike via Creative Commons
A market brings us back to basics. A market is the world at our fingertips. People from all backgrounds and cultures all seeking the same things: fresh food and maybe a new recipe or a new taste experience.
Photo by Limarie Cabrera via Creative Commons
I don’t go to the market just to restock my fridge and pantry anymore. I meander and stroll and smell and taste to be surrounded by the colours, smells and sounds of life.
I went to the market this Sunday. Although farmers have not yet set up their outdoor stalls and the flower vendors were not yet there, the promise of it all was. It was present in the pots with seedlings and the indoor stalls overflowing with green, leafy vegetables and customers tasting the sliced fruit on mounted displays. Soon, very soon, summer will be back and the allure of the market will be calling once more.