shades of spring


turkish market tuesdays

I like my life to be filled with as much food as possible. This does not necessarily mean just food for my tummy, or frequent visits to well-stocked grocery shelves. Perhaps it is more fitting to say that I like my life to be filled with the idea of food.

Food is a common need and a common enjoyment that can be easily be shared. However, industrial packaging processes have colonized the process of holding an apple and examining it from all sides. Cheap prices have hidden the roots of fresh produce. Meat is too often presented between saran wrap and an expiry date. Such processes disconnect us from food and food from its origin. There is little room left for much more interaction than filling grocery bags and swiping debit cards.

Luckily it seems that people and their appetites are moving back to a more holistic relationship with food. After having been a frequent shopper at Fakta Grocery Stores in Copenhagen (but only because of price) where instead of handing the teller coins to pay, one must put all coins into a plastic tube that looks like a funnel and then take out any change at the bottom of the funnel, I think that shopping for food should once again be more personal.

With an economy in the pits, consumer habits are going through much needed reforms. One result seems to be more of an interest in organic (sometimes) and local (especially) products at regular prices. This seems to be happening much faster in Europe than in North America. A recent article in the Globe and Mail about how if one columnist sees another "self righteous shopper" carrying resusable tote bags to the grocery store is going to scream only is further proof. Most European grocery stores charge a few cents for plastic bags (a way to also decrease the cost of groceries) and so even non-hippies are seen with eco-friendly tote bags on the continent.

Furthermore, buying organic in Germany has been normalized. At first organic food was sold in speciality mom and pop stores for the prices of fine, exotic speciality goods. Then the big chain grocery stores, Kaisers, Lido, Plus et cetera, made way for organic sections. Now there are big chain organic grocery stores, Bio Markt that are frequented by all, families, students, punks, and well-suited seniors.

Grocery stores aren't the only places to do so. Rich in flea markets, Berlin is also rich in fresh produce markets. Not all are organic, but all have at least a few organic stands selling walnut bread, locally-made goat cheese, and fresh baking pumpkins. Here are some great places to eat, shop, and ask people passionate about food the best way to prepare pumpkin flesh for baking, or the best way to steam a whole fish.

Türken-Markt Every Tuesday and Friday, this crowded market is the place to buy cheap produce, organic pasta, fabric, and a delicious African lunch. On the Maybachufer in East Kreuzberg.

Bio Markt Every Saturday organic stalls take over Cahmissoplatz in West Kreuzberg. A great place to indulge in organic German sausages, buy fresh cream, or eat a spelt waffel with organic berry jam.

Marheinekeplatz Markthalle Open six days a week, this covered market in Kreuzberg is one of my favourite places to eat and to buy things to eat.

Winterfeldtmarkt An outdoor market in Schoeneberg open Wednesdays and Saturdays.


spring shadows

Just a touch of sunlight can easily transform white walls, a thyme plant, and a pile of postcards. Not to mention, pale skin, long weekends, and outdoor meals.

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