Friday morning, I was on my way to the grocery store to pick up some fresh steaks, when I stumbled upon one of the greatest things I have found thus far in Athens: The Pangrati Farmers Market!
It was around 3:30 in the afternoon and the market was approaching closing time, so as I walked through the street, admiring the rainbow or fruits and vegetables spread out across crates and tables, my ears were bombarded with the auctioneer-like shouting of discounted prices and playful vendors grabbing the attention of any and every passerby.
For only 7 euros, I as able walk away from the market with a full bag of fresh green beans, a head of lettuce, two cucumbers, an overflowing container of cherry tomatoes, four peaches, and two bags of grapes.
And to think, I was afraid of grocery shopping when I first arrived! Ha!
A month into this endeavor, and I’ve already mastered the farmers market, the bakery, and the butcher. I am eating healthier than ever before, which is funny because I was worried about being able to even feed myself while living on my own.
I don’t know about other states, but at least in Michigan, the farmers markets I’ve been to are no where near as plentiful, affordable, and socially exciting as those here in Athens.
If you’re a student, here in Athens, I encourage you to please visit the Friday market in Pangrati. It will provide you will a week’s worth of produce, and a social encounter you’ll never forget.
I received a friendly smile from every person I walked past, and it all felt very genuine. I walked up and down the street over and over again, not because I needed more food, but because I was just so enamored with the developed rapport that was clearly visible between merchant and customer. Unlike the relationships we see between salespeople and clients back in America, these encounters seemed to be much simpler, much more authentic, and enjoyed rather than forced.
Perhaps, in our time of political and social controversy, we should be looking to other cultures, not for guides on how to restructure our political ideology, but for much more basic values of human interaction.
The concept of implementing farmer’s markets may seem simple, but sometimes the simple changes are all it takes to begin a cultural revolution.
Let’s refresh. Refresh our foods; refresh our hearts.