A Hard Bargin

Sunday is Market Day in Melide. We headed into town today and I was happy to see that Pride month has reached our little corner of the world. Our rural community is embracing the times, and all it’s citizens and visitors are welcome.

Melide celebrates Pride

Back in Valencia in Benimachlet, market day was Fridays in the square by the church. We had not been to the Friday market but a couple of times in the past year. Much of that time they were closed down due to Covid restrictions. Or only half the stalls were allowed to be in operation at any one time. We did pop by the Friday before we moved at the end of April and found it was 30% bigger than pre-pandemic days. It was great to to see it bounced back.

In Melide, we have a new set of vendors to learn. Two potato and onion trucks mark the street every Sunday morning. Nothing like buying a 50lb bag of potatoes or onions and using them before they go bad. But people line up to carry them away.

Potatoes in Galicia are a big thing, it seems. A recent headline in the local newspaper announced the arrival of one variety everyone had been waiting for. They cautioned the population to beware of imitations. As if they were truffles. To me, potatoes are brown, yellow, or red. Oh yeah. And big or small. I know nothing of the apparent snobbery of the Galician potato. I suppose I will mention this to my neighbor, Carmen, and she will lecture me about it. Then bring me several varieties from her garden, before quizzing me on their merits.

Today, we walked through the market stalls at a snails pace. I like to peruse. It does Jeff’s back real damage. He prefers a seat outside a café, under an umbrella during my shopping. But today he tagged along.

You can tell what a community values by what they sell in the stalls on market day. The first thing that caught my eye was their vast apron selection. Seriously. Every color and pattern combination. And it wasn’t just one stall. Jeff offered to buy me an apron for every day of the week at a whole 5€ a pop. I will be taking him up on this offer very soon. He’s lucky we hadn’t gotten to the knives yet.

Then we came upon hats. I find one can never own too many hats. And these days I am out in the sun gardening. A wide brimmed hat is essential. I selected one and asked Jeff his opinion.

‘I have no idea how this one is any different than the other 100 hats you already have. But it looks nice.’

I was taking it off to give it another look when the proprietor came over to press the sale.

‘Quince.’ He told me after I asked the price. (Fifteen euros)

‘No’ I shook my finger. ‘Diez.’ (Ten)

The guy grabbed another and shoved them together. Two for thirty. As if this were some sort of deal. Was he saying I have two heads?

I shook my head and told him I didn’t really need a hat after all, and we made to leave. He put the other hat down.

‘Vale. Vale. Quince.’

Again, I said ‘No quince. Diez‘

The guy shook his head and I turned to go. Finally he acquiesced. ‘Ok. Diez.’

I paid the man, and with my new hat in hand we progressed.

Next up was bread. As most of you know, I can’t eat bread. Or bread with gluten. But that doesn’t stop me from ogling it with mouthwatering longing when I see it. Galician bread is glorious. Pure Artistry. No pretty French baguette. It’s often misshapen and has a little black bit from perhaps too much heat from the oven. Or having been baked in coals from a wood fired brick oven. It costs nothing, and I could eat it all! If it didn’t make me sick.

Bread is my recent obsession since the story I’m currently writing is about a village who hires a new baker, who is not exactly who he says he is. Then a long ago murder surfaces secrets best left buried with the dead.

So I bake A LOT of stuff in my head. Where I can eat gluten to my hearts content.

You can cut it, slice it or dice it

The final booth was something we never saw on market day anywhere in Valencia. Farm implements. I’m pretty sure this is where the Spector of Death shops for his scythes. But these are real tools used every day here. Instead of an electric hedge trimmer, I watched my neighbor expertly square up her boxwood hedge with one of these. If I try it I will need to call the Urgencia in Palas to reserve some units of blood and a bed before my first swing. Jeff told me there was no need for me to purchase one today. Apparently, we have ten of them in the barn. And a stone on which to sharpen them. It scares me a little that he knows that.

We are back home. I’m in my new 10€ hat getting ready to take the clothes off the line. Sadly, I did not take Jeff up on his apron offer so I’ll have to do without the pockets to hold clothes pins. Jeff is somewhere in the back forty in rubber boots plowing something. I waved to him earlier as he drove by with a huge smile on his face. Another perfect Sunday.

8 thoughts on “A Hard Bargin

  • Every year I wait for the cherries, especially the yellow Raniers. They are delicious. In Belesar, on the Rio Miño, there is a wine and cherry festival in May. We didn’t go but maybe next year. And yeah, Gallegos eat a LOT of potatoes and all own a sickle or two. And us women, we all wear aprons but I refuse to wear those ugly house coats.

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    • We have so many Rainier cherry trees on our property. I can’t wait for them to be ready. It will be a good fruit season, I think. I’m thinking of opening a stand at the gate. There is no way we can eat all the fruit.

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      • Yes – that’s the method for soups when you want to have the potato give it a little more body (like caldo gallego). Otherwise a standard cut for your fried potatoes / tortillas. But I really came to say that I saw that potato truck at the Melide market – it delighted me so much I had to take a pic of it! When you do get the apron, a pic is going to be necessary! 😆😆

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        • What amazed me us that a town so small required two potato/onion trucks to service the needs of the population. One of them has now added a table selling cherries. She had the most customers on Sunday. Apron pics will be forthcoming.

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