Thursday, April 2, 2009


Life here is cyclical, and so is the world of the piata. The word piata (pee-atza) has become so familiar to me that I often use it as if it were an English word. It actually means 'market.' Here I'm referring specifically to the local farmer's market.

Spring has definitely arrived, and things at the market are coming back to life after the winter dearth. It's so refreshing to see fresh produce making a comeback! To be honest, I was getting sick of onions, parsnips, potatoes and cabbage-- and pickled varieties thereof. In fact, in the winter you can find just about everything in pickled form, even watermelon (which is quite addictive if you ask me). Today I happened by the piata to see what was going on. The weather was beautiful and warm. For a Thursday, things were pretty bustling. The scene would be even more popping on the big market days, Tuesdays and Fridays, when villagers from the surrounding area come to sell their wares.

The first time I ever went shopping at the piata, I went with my colleague from school, Mihaela. She taught me a strategy that I still use today. She said, 'start browsing from the back and work your way to the front.' She told me to do so because producers pay more to rent the tables at the front, and thus jack up their prices accordingly. Therefore, you can often find the best deals at the back tables. Today I found something quite exciting: spinach!! Apparently it just came into season. I bought a whole kilogram without any clue what I'd use it for.

One thing I've learned about shopping in Lugoj is that you need to take opportunities when they come. What's here one week might not be next week (whether you're talking about the supermarket or piata). For example, one of my favorite things about summer are the strawberries. However, the problem is that they come and go in the blink of an eye. They're probably only at the market for a week or so, but when they are, it's glorious.


thejoempoem said...

Strawberries have started to make a 15lei/kilo appearance here in Petrila, at this chain of little fruit shops that popped up here in January.

Rock that spinac.

Anonymous said...

If you like spinach, you would absolutely go crazy for beet greens, if they sell them at the Piata. You should look for them later in the season. You cook it just like spinach, but they have an added zing to them. I can't wait for strawberries to come in season here too. In Connecticut, that should be in June, if it ever warms up here!

bucurestiuldevis said...

In Bucharest the strawberries are not yet in the piata - anyway not the real ones (from the farmers).

If you like spinache, I also recommend you nettles, is their season now. Also, wild garlic (leurda) is a great experience, but you cand find it only in this period.

I like to see Romania through your eyes.