The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run. -Thoreau
Every Saturday there is a Farmer’s Market in Saint Petersburg, across from our park. White tents appear like mushrooms early in the morning at the big parking lot occupied by cars during week days. Merchants are selling fresh and organic produce, live chickens, fresh cheeses and meats, fresh guacamole, honey, herbs, freshly squeezed pineapple, orange, and sugarcane juice; there is live music, and people are coming from all directions to get whatever their appetite dictates them.
About two weeks ago, out of curiosity and attracted by the music, the smells, and the euphoria of it all, we went to check it out. It was about two in the afternoon and some of the merchants have already started to fold their tables and tents. As we had nothing better to do that day, me and Ivo volunteered to help one of them. Almost a quarter of the market was his territory. He gladly accepted our help, not comprehending at first our offer to “work for free”. It took us and five or six more paid helpers less than two hours to fold all tents and tables, to package all unsold fruits and vegetables, and to load a truck with all the crates, juice machines, and cash registers. At the end, the owner of the business again offered to pay us, and we refused again, telling him that we would rather take whatever damaged unwanted produce he might have. And he gave us a load of fruits and veggies, a mountain of vitamins and fibers, inviting us to “come again next week”.
And we did. It became our Saturday routine volunteering at the market for about two hours in exchange for tons of produce (lots of leftover pineapples from the fresh pineapple juice machine). We have never before had so much fruits and greens at our table! We are now eating healthier than ever, saving much more money from grocery shopping than if the guy payed us in cash instead.
Moreover, our “work” at the market is voluntary allowing us to preserve our independence. The time and effort which we commit are being remunerated directly with products instead of money which becomes a win-win situation for us and for our employer, as it is products which our employer does not need, but we do. I proudly consider this situation a successful survivalist strategy in urban environment and I can’t wait for next Saturday’s harvest!
The following are pictures and recipes of our harvest. I will be adding more later on.
This is a traditional Bulgarian food-preserve based on eggplants (I love eggplants) and peppers with lots of garlic.
I bake in the oven (or roast on a BBQ) one or two eggplants along with 4-5 green and/or red peppers (I prefer red for sweeter taste). In this version, I added 2-3 zucchinis and I baked everything for about 2 hours, or until well done. After, I peel the skin of all vegetables and remove the seeds from the peppers. Then, I finely chop them. You can puree them, but I prefer the less finer texture of larger pieces. I add tomato paste or fresh tomatoes. If fresh, I first boil the tomatoes whole in the kyopolu paste for about 5 min., then take them out, peel the skin off and slice them. I boil everything in a deep pan or a pot with vegetable oil for about 20-30 min. and I sometimes add a hot finely sliced jalapeno pepper. Finally, I remove my Kyopolu from the stove and wait 5 min before adding as much crushed garlic as desired (4-5 cloves). If I have parsley lying around, I will definitely mince it and toss it in!
You know this one, don’t you?
All you need is a few overripe bananas, I put 4 in this one, half a cup brown sugar, 2-3 table spoons vegetable oil, two cups all-purpose flour, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon baking soda and baking powder, some salt. I also added lots of crushed baking chocolate bark in the bread, as well as on top of it! You could use chocolate chips instead too.
So, you crush and puree the bananas, I do it with a fork, add the sugar, oil, and eggs and beat all this until it forms a liquid paste, then add the flour, soda, salt, crushed chocolate, mix lightly and poor in a pan. I use a flat pan, not the classic banana bread loaf one. Thus, I don’t have to bake it for 90 min, but only for about 45 min. and it is well done and has lots of crunchy parts.
Roman salad with tomatoes, fresh green onions and cucumber, oil, salt, lemon juice.
Another traditional Bulgarian meal. Usually it is made in emergency situations, when there is nothing to eat, and something is needed ASAP.
It is scrambled eggs with vegetables. I first steam the veggies, usually peppers, tomatoes, fresh onions, in this case I added asparagus. When the veggies are done and cooked, I add 4-5 eggs and scramble them with the veggies.
With tomatoes and cucumbers, salt, vegetable oil and lemon juice