On December 1, 2018, the Farmers’ Market in Plovdiv celebrated Terra Madre Day with an unusual gathering. The prevailing participants this time were people (mainly women) who still remember and practice the preparation of traditional local food. Visitors from Staro Zhelezare, Belashtitsa, Markovo, Kurtovo Konare, and Hrabrino presented a variety of winter food –jams, lyutenitsa (a preserve from a mixture of baked tomatoes and peppers), fresh home-made bread with sharena sol (a mixture of garden herbs and salt) from Staro Zhelezare, sausages, dolmas with pickled cabbage, tikalnici (filo dough with cheese filling, fried in hot lard), home-made wine and rakia, fresh apples, persimmons, walnuts, and much more.
The aim of this gathering was to bring together the treasurers of local tastes and knowledge from the villages in Plovdiv district with chefs and restaurant owners from Plovdiv city and to initiate collaboration between them. This idea has multiple aims – to safeguard the gastronomic heritage in the villages, to diversify the menus of Plovdiv restaurants and to offer to citizens and visitors to Plovdiv a true sense of the local taste. The more long-term goal is to define the terms “home-made food”, “food from granny’s kitchen”, and “prepared according to an old recipe” which so far, have been used only as marketing tricks by large food companies and restaurants but neither the ingredients, nor the recipes have been original. The next step will be the elaboration of a formal, legal definition of the term “home-made food” that might become also a stimulus for new business concepts attached to it.
Hopes for the success of these initiatives come from the inspiring visits of “grannies” from Staro Zhelezare, Belashtitsa, Kurtovo Konare, Rakovski at Plovdiv Farmers’ Market in Bunardzhika park during the summer. Their presence attracted many visitors to the Market and their food disappeared within an hour. This shows that the consumers in Plovdiv are craving for true tastes and products that very often remind them of their childhood since many of the citizens in Plovdiv have their roots in the villages of the district.
The Farmers’ Market in Plovdiv opened in 2013 as the answer to the growing needs of Plovdiv citizens for good, clean and fair food. In its 5-year history the Market has developed its concept and has been established as the place where people in Plovdiv can find fresh food of guaranteed quality. Plovdiv Farmers’ Market is a city event that brings together the inhabitants of Plovdiv with farmers and food producers from neighboring villages. One can buy fresh fruit and vegetables, farmers’ cheeses, sour dough bread, home-made jams and preserves, herbal tea, home-made cakes, and vegan food. The Market is constantly growing and welcomes new members who produce fruits and vegetables, cereals and legumes, nuts and tahini, dairy products from goat, cow and buffalo milk, meat and meat products, craft beer and wine, and food prepared on-the-spot for selling and tasting.
Farmers’ Market in Plovdiv is a part of the Network Slow Food Plovdiv the consolidation of which is funded by the Municipality Foundation Plovdiv 2019 and is part of the Program of Plovdiv – Plovdiv 2019 ECOC.
Plovdiv Farmers’ Market is a candidate to join the Earth Market network of Slow Food with the hope that it will diversify the concept and the goals of this initiative.