I love a farmers’ market but I can never go during the week and Saturdays always seem busy with other plans. So I was sooo pleased to learn that the Mercato di Campagna Amica near Circo Massimo opens Saturday AND Sunday.
Unfortunately though, everyone else in Rome is also very happy about it too. Bustling is not the word. I tried to tell myself that this was for sure a sign of quality; that each of the many vegetable stalls that were thronged with people in some places three or four deep, must be offering some incredible produce. So I took a deep breath and joined the fun.
Each stall has a numbered ticket system, as the traditional “Chi è l’ultimo?” preferred Italian method of queuing (asking who is the last and then remembering that you are behind that person) was obviously no match for these crowds. Queues for 15 minutes at each stall were not uncommon.
All I wanted was a little bit of pumpkin for a warming autumn soup (even in 20 degrees I need comfort food in November) and you must eat in season as all these committed shoppers know. I think Halloween had taken its toll though as zucca/pumpkins were not piled up in plentiful mounds as I had expected to find. Instead armfuls of greenery for minestrone drowned every counter.
|nearly at the front!|
Eventually, after the kind woman at the counter had let an old lady push in front of me so she didn’t have to stand any longer (she was kind I was just stressed), I had my fresh, authentic, seasonal, locally sourced veggies and was feeling that virtuousness only to be found from shunning supermarket shelves. Righteousness over convenience? The proof is in the eating. The soup was delicious I have to say.
For a more informative look at this market and the many and varied others in Rome, try my friend Chiara’s website Markets of Rome available in both Italian and English.