SARONNO, Italy - There was a good crowd at Saronno’s newest street market last Saturday. Unlike the weekly street market, which sells everything from produce to meat and fish, shoes and underwear, and the bi-monthly street market where you can buy antiques, paintings by local artists, regional products like olive oil from Liguria and crusty bread from Puglia, and keep the kids happy with the kiddie rides, the Mercato Contadino only sells food and plants.
|Saronno's newest market|
I like farmer’s markets. I like that sense of community you get talking to the people who produce the food you are going to put on your table. It’s comforting to me, part of my personal history.
My mother’s parent’s had a farm with chickens and cows and all the other storybook farm animals, and my father always had a large garden. He grew everything from sweet corn and string beans to broccoli and beets. Every afternoon he would go through the garden and pick whatever was ripe on the vine and that would end up on our dinner table that night.
|The market is a success|
On offer were patty pan and yellow squash, red cabbage, potatoes, peas and green beans, zucchini and zucchini flowers. Crispy green lettuce and garlic, blueberries, raspberries and gooseberries, which I haven’t seen since I was a kid.
|The Cheesemaker, Matteo Moretto (photo from LeCamosciate website|
The stalls selling goat cheese were the most interesting to me. With the paltry selection of goat milk products offered by our local supermarkets, I was amazed to see, in addition to the large variety of soft cheeses, goat’s milk yogurt, mozzarella and ricotta.
|Gianni and Tiiana Moretto, the Cheesemaker's parents|
There were two cheese stalls that I found particularly interesting. The first was LeCamosciate, a small goat farm in the area of Lake Como. The cheesemaker is Matteo Moretto, a young agricultural expert who specializes in organic farming. With a helping hand from his parents, Gianni and Tiziana, he produces a surprising variety of goat’s milk cheeses using just the milk that comes from the goats he raises on their farm. Their web site is: http://www.ilformaggiodicapra.com/
|Cheesemaker of Pian del Lares|
The second stall was that of L'azienda agricola "Pian del Lares, located near Lake Maggiore. This is a large operation with cows and pigs, in addition to goats, and they also produce a large variety of goat milk cheeses in addition to other products including sausages of various types.
|Sausage and Cheese from Pian del Lares|
The longest line was at the market stall selling apricots and peaches. Like most fruit and produce for sale in Italy, when it hits the market it is ready to eat. With husbands and kids standing nearby to carry off the bounty, housewives were buying in bulk, which here in Saronno means a flat of 18 peaches and 4 lbs of apricots. The second longest line was at the stall selling zucchini flowers. They too were being sold by the flat.
|See You in July|
It’s a new initiative so for now the farmers are only here twice a month. But I’m hoping the market will be a success and that there are enough people in Saronno interested in buying farm fresh products that it will eventually become a weekly event.
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