Finally, after 7 months, I am home in Turkey. I was happy to see the house spotless; Mu had got the cleaners in. It’s just a shame they didn’t look in the laundry baskets….I did and there I found laundry from 7 months ago!!
The Mother in Law called early the next morning; Welcome back she said before the inevitable: ‘Kym, you said you were going for two months and it’s been seven’’. Not one to make excuses I said ‘I know, I’m very naughty’ at which she laughed ‘oy Kym, oy oy’ she said. What a bad yabanci gelin I am!
One thing I missed badly when I was in the UK, was the produce. In Turkey, the fruit and veg literally spills off the stalls down the market in bright green chains of stalk and leaf surrounding nature’s multi-coloured gems. I couldn’t wait for Wednesday!
Up early and out the door in my shalvar (yes really) and Birkenstocks that are now adapted to help fix my ankle problem (more about that another time), I got to the market and was lucky enough to find a parking space right by the entrance. So far so good.
The Wednesday farmers market is where the old market used to be, behind the new mosque in Yenihisar. The stalls sit in neat rows behind which all shapes and sizes of headscarf and moustache call out to passers-by: ‘Buyrun’ they say, here we are, ready and waiting, please have a look.
My first stop is at my father in laws stall where brother in law Enis beams at me, ‘Hos geldin’ he says welcoming me. We engage in general chit chat after which I give him my order for various seeds and spices and leave him to that while I wander.
I manage to get most of my green leafy things (yesil ot) at the first stall I stop at. I ask the lady stall holder for a ‘poşet’ so that I can pick and choose myself and while I’m doing so I spy some beautiful looking tomatoes on the vine at the next stall. On closer inspection, I note the yellow sticker and fly symbol that means they have been grown using chemical sprays and insect deterrents so I don’t buy them. No matter, it’s not long before I come across some that have been grown organically and after a good prod and poke, into my poşet they go. Hands now full of bags; I wander back to Enis and leave my shopping with him as I set off for round two.
Fruit comes next followed by olive oil, yoghurt and honey and I’m done in no time.
Back to Enis and he has been joined by the Father in Law Nedim. ‘Hos Geldin Kym’ he says and then frowns and proceeds to tell me I have been gone too long. I know exactly how to answer, ‘iş yaptin’ I say, I made work there. This prevents any further frowning and I am back to being a good yabanci gelin
My bags are packed in a crate and Enis carries them to the car for me. On the way I bump into Dave aka Smurf, long term resident expat and sun worshiper. ‘How come you get your stuff carried and the rest of us have to carry our own’ he says white teeth shining out from his mahogany face. ‘I’m related’ I say with a grin on my pale face. Just one of the plus points of being a yabanci gelin eh?
In comparison to the UK, where I lived mostly on Sweet Potatoes and Avocado’s, there is absolutely no contest. My market shopping cost me fifty lira, that’s £17.98 at today’s rate of exchange.
I think the photo’s speak for themselves but to back them up, here is my shopping list of goodies purchased.
1 bunch of rocket
1 bunch of tera (tastes like watercress)
1 bunch of dereotu (dill)
2 bunches of maydanoz (parsley)
1 kilo of ispanak (spinach)
5 pancar (beetroot)
Half a kilo of salatalık (cucumber)
2 kilos of domates (tomatoes)
4 kilos of patates (potatoes)
1 kilo of sogan (onion)
2 kilos of elma (apple)
1 kilo limon (lemon)
4 bulbs of fresh sarımsak (garlic)
1 kilo of kayseri (apricot)
Half a kilo of koyun yogurt (sheep’s yoghurt)
A large jar of cicek bal (flower honey)
1 litre of zeytin yag (olive oil)
The bits I got from my father in law, of course, I didn’t pay for but for the sake of what’s available here, I’ll include them below:
Hemp seeds – Linseeds – Aniseed – Sumak – Nar Eksisi (Pomegranate Syrup) – kara biber (black pepper).
At home, my green bits sit prettily in water glasses, waiting to be plucked. The seeds and spices have been poured into glass jars and the rest of the goods have been washed and arranged in bowls that are now in the fridge. It’s like opening a jewellery box.
The world has been getting health conscious for more than a few years now. People are turning their backs on processed goods and fast foods and rightly so but, instead of allowing everyone to reap the benefits of fresh food as nature intended, it is just another way to make money. Anything worth having is pricey and out of reach for most and even more so if it has an organic label on it. This is just plain wrong.
I know I am lucky to live here, in a country where food grown from the earth doesn’t cost the earth. In some countries, the food affordable will actually put you in the earth way before your sell by date!