Not only does Olhão have the best daily fish and fresh produce markets in the Algarve, it also has an incredible farmers market every Saturday. The farmers market has been here for years and so I thought would be perfect for this month’s Past meets Present.dscn0047

At first glance you may think very little has changed apart from the fact they now have tables to display their goods and it no longer arrives by horse and cart! These changes are relatively new though as the photograph on the left below was apparently taken in 1983. Other recent changes are the cafes and the beach being replaced with a harbour wall. On weekday mornings cars park where the stall holders are, but the Mayor is intending to change that this year. A positive change I think as long as he doesn’t create difficulties for the stallholders setting up their stalls on Saturdays.

If like us you prefer to buy your fruit and veg in season, care about ‘food miles’ or are after organic produce then this weekly farmers market is where you should do all of your fruit, flower and vegetable shopping. Most if not all of the stallholders are all from the hills surrounding Olhão, and most of what is on sale will have been harvested only a day or two before. It tastes as great as it looks, especially if you buy from our favourite stallholder Silvia!

As well as the fresh produce there is usually also honey, piri piri, jams and cakes on sale, and if you are really lucky you will shop to live music. If you cannot make it here on a Saturday then don’t worry the fruit and vegetables indoors are very good too. As you know from previous posts I think Olhão’s markets are the best, but the others in the Algarve are also good. For a full list of all the markets in the Algarve click here, and for more information on the traditional produce on sale in the markets across the Algarve click here.

And if you are wondering about the indoor market buildings they will be a hundred and one years old this year! A fish market always existed here on the beach and I read somewhere that the vegetable one was once in front of the main church. In 1866 they built the first indoor fish market not far from the two buildings we see today. In 1912 it was decided all of the markets should be side by side on the seafront and four years later in 1916 the current market buildings opened. Their construction involved hammering in 88 stakes (estacas), and consequently the small square between the two buildings is known as ‘Bate-Estacas‘. I enjoy learning about the history of a place, and love looking at old photographs. If you do too why not share your own ‘Past Meets Present‘. Remember it doesn’t have to be Portuguese, and I’d be delighted if you began the new year with me.

Feliz Ano Novo!