Sneakily tucked behind the gothic apartment buildings, street performers and flower venders, lies the crest for the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria.
The Mercat is a massive public market in the Ciutat Vella district. With such a wide variety of options, it makes sense that grocery stores are scarce in Barcelona. In fact, for many locals, the Mercat is the main way to get food.
The market offers fruits that I’ve never heard of and part of animals that I didn’t know were edible.
The colors radiate from the Mercat and make “getting groceries” an aesthetically pleasing chore.
Because each vender is able to specialize in its’ respective food group, the quality of the cuisine is overwhelmingly above average.
While meandering through the aisles and aisles of brightly-colored produce, I began to think about how this market concept can be compared to the typical American grocery store.
Here are a couple bullet points explaining why a market should outweigh a grocery store.
- At a market, such as La Boqueria, when you buy, you’re supporting local farmers and ranchers. With Spain’s suffering economy, it’s important to support your neighbors and friends by buying from their booth.
- It’s fresh. Since each vendor is specialized, you can bet that the items that you buy will be worth your money.
- There’s variety. A fruit booth at the Mercat would house many more types of fruit than a typical supermarket. The same applies for a meat, vegetable, spice or pastry booth.
- The market concept protects the environment by eliminating the environmental travel costs of food. The amounts of shipping food uses immense amounts of natural resources (fossil fuels, in particular).
- Know where your food comes from. I think we too often turn a blind eye to wear the things that we buy come from. We put gas in our cars and don’t think about what got it to the gas station. We buy clothes from department stores and don’t think about what got it to that location. And we put food in our mouths and don’t think twice about where it was grown. By buying food from a market, you know exactly where your food comes from.
- It’s fun! Buying from a market is a way of socializing, getting in touch and contributing in your community.