A Crimean Market

There have been a lot of shopping blog posts recently, probably due to the fact that it is something everybody can relate to. I’m sharing this one not because of the prices, but because it is written about the market I used to go to nearly every week when I lived in Crimea. Despite some changes, it’s nice to know that some things haven’t changed.

The Stary Krym farmers market is open every day, but the real market is only open on Saturday and Sunday. Traders come from all over the district. Prices are much lower than in stores, and of wider choice.

This is what I bought today. Persimmons – 130 rubles / kg; apples – between 35-60 rubles; lemons – 130 / kg. For fruit there are still tangerines – 90 rubles, grapes – between 100-150 rubles; pears – between 100-120 rubles. In general, fruit is scarce, it’s not summer. But there are a lot of vegetables. Potatoes, cabbage, onions, garlic, carrots, beets – all very fresh & juicy. Delicious, & lots of options – from 15 to 30 rubles.

Many of the villagers were selling milk and cottage cheese. Milk is 50 rubles a liter, I bought one-and-a-half liters for 75 rubles. Very good. Cottage cheese is 150 rubles / kg, excellent. Sauerkraut is 100 rubles / kg – the taste was just so-so, and sold in only two places, there is no culture of sauerkraut or something. I took eggs home – 90 rubles for a dozen. The store sells eggs for 70-75 rubles. Frankly, I see no difference in the taste between domestic and shop [eggs], both here and in the shops have the taste of normal eggs in contrast to the eggs in St Petersburg. Why then did I take home the more expensive [eggs]? Well, just to support the small producer…

I bought some honey, paid 150 rubles for this box. The honey is good… Nearby stood sunflower honey for 150 rubles for a half-liter jar, and buckwheat honey was 250 rubles for a half-liter jar. Whether this is expensive or not I don’t know, because for the past two years, I have only been eating honey from my 82-year-old aunt’s apiary in Altai.

The author also mentions the half-kilogram carp he bought for 100 rubles which “proved to be alive”.

“When my wife went to take it out of the package it thrashed and trembled. After taking the photo, I had to cut off its head. My wife is frying it now, but the head is still wriggling. It’s not carp, but some kind of Professor Dowell’s Head, like in the popular science fiction story from my childhood.” [According to Wikipedia: “Professor Dowell’s Head is a 1925 science fiction novel by Russian author Alexander Belyayev.” -ed].

Note: I remember being told by the older women selling produce how much things cost in rubles, even though they meant the Ukrainian currency hryvnia. Now the prices really are in rubles, but the box of honey has a “g” written on it, as if the price is in hryvnia.

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