To market, to market: a very Cretan day

Crete is a highly agricultural island.  In fact, Maria, our guide for this morning (May 23) told us that the people of Crete weathered the economic crisis that began in 2008 better than most of Greece, in part because small-scale farming is so much a part of life here, meaning Cretans have what they need to produce much of their own food.

Now this is a farmers' market!

Now this is a farmers’ market!

Saturday is market day in Chania, and we got a guided tour by Maria, who teaches at MAICh and blogs about Greek food and life at http://www.organicallycooked.com.

Maria displaying the art of haggling while buying a handmade basket.

Maria (in the teal) displaying the art of haggling while buying a handmade basket.

The variety at the market was astonishing, and the produce beautiful.  Some pics to prove my point:

Fava beans, sold shelled and in the pod

Fava beans, sold shelled and in the pod

Snails, an unfamiliar squash and homemade wine

Snails, an unfamiliar squash and homemade wine

Strawberries,

Strawberries, cucumbers, lemons, carrots, baby zucchini and squash blossoms

Cheese, chees, and cheese

Cheese, cheese, and cheese

Mountain greens - they grow wild on the hillsides and are only eaten cooked, like bitter greens in the southern U.S.

Mountain greens – they grow wild on the hillsides, are bitter, and are only eaten cooked.

Peaches

Peaches, cherries, melons and oranges

Honey

Honey, cheese and homemade wine

Nuts and beans

Nuts and beans

Mushrooms

Mushrooms, grape leaves, apples, eggs, and peaches

We sampled lots of things: cheese, honey wine, even chickpeas fresh off the plant.  They make a great snack!

So this is what a fresh chickpea looks like!

So this is what a fresh chickpea looks like!

I could say a lot about the market, but I think for this post the pictures say enough.

By the far end of the market, we had nearly reached the harbor.  So we kept walking and spent a little time enjoying the views and the fresh sea air.

See?  Enjoyment!

See? Enjoyment!

In Chania, there's always interesting architecture to look at.

In Chania, there’s always interesting architecture to look at.

Some sponges really do live under the sea, just like Mr. Squarepants.

Some sponges really do live under the sea, just like Mr. Squarepants.

After one more shopping session, we returned to MAICh to get ready for a special evening: a Cretan night celebration incorporating ourselves and the conference participants.

First, dinner:

This was fancier than I had bargained for!

This was fancier than I had bargained for!

Then music:

A modern traditional Greek band, complete with synthesized flutes and trumpets

A modern traditional Greek band, complete with synthesized flutes and trumpets

 

And then dancing:

It's too bad this isn't video ... imagine fancy footwork and whirling, all while calmly holding hands.

It’s too bad this isn’t video … imagine fancy footwork and whirling, all while calmly holding hands.

What a quintessentially Greek day: market, harbor and Cretan dancing.  We loved every bit of it.

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6 thoughts on “To market, to market: a very Cretan day

  1. I was visiting the same market with my mother in the end of May. It is a cornucopia of everything edible! Wonderful photos you have here.

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