We live in a very agricultural region of Turkey. It is common to see women picking potatoes, horse-drawn plows in the fields, and truckfulls of watermelon on the highway. On base, we have orange, lemon, and banana trees in our yards. Fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables are abundant in this region.
One can find fresh produce markets (similar to American farmers' markets) almost every day of the week all across town. Truckloads of lettuce, tomatoes, and strawberries are lined up, glistening in the Turkish sun, just waiting to be purchased.
I fell in love with the Turkish markets during my second year in Turkey. My friend, Katrina, and I walked to the local neighborhood market off base almost every Sunday afternoon. Oftentimes, our sons, Peter and Zack, rode along in their strollers; they were very entertained by all of the sights and sounds of the market.
The walk to the market was just as entertaining and cultural as the market itself. During our 10 minute walk, we took in the sights of the little Turkish neighborhood: old men sitting in the sun drinking their tea, children chasing a soccer ball in the street, women hanging clothes on the line.
Upon arriving at the market, your senses are immeadiately stimulated. (Remember the market scene in the movie Aladdin? That's it!) The truckfulls and tables of colorful produce, the yelling of the vendors ("buy my eggplant!" in Turkish), the hustle and bustle of shoppers weaving through the crowds, the aroma of Turkish spices and fish; it's a unique experience every time.
And the best part? This beautiful, scrumptious produce doesn't cost an arm and a leg. It actually barely costs anything at all. Right now, 1 Turkish Lira equals 54 US cents.
For example: 1 kilo (about 2.2 lbs) of oranges costs 1 Turkish Lira (54 cents)! We devoured these oranges this winter. They were the most scrumptiously sweet oranges I've ever tasted.
And a kilo of these tasty, fresh strawberries costs 3.50 Turkish Lira ($1.91).
Katrina and I filled our strollers full of fresh fruits and veggies each week, then proudly walked back home with our treasures.