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Market forces

December 13, 2010 – 1:33 pm
Drinks at weekly organic market in Alameda, Sevilla

Drinks at weekly organic market in the Alameda, Sevilla

Today I’m going to talk about food, which is an obsession in Andalucia, in case you didn’t know. And more specifically, food markets.

Farmer’s markets and organic produce are both part of life in the UK and US, and have been for some years now. Like most things, they have taken a wee while to arrive in Spain. But Seville now boasts its own weekly organic market, in the Alameda.

You can get your fruit and veg; olive oil (one of Andalucia’s principal organic products); honey; soap; tea; and wine. My personal favourite is the German bakery, Das Brot; based in Tavira, they already have a shop here in Seville, in Calle San Luis, but buying cake from a market stall on a Saturday morning has a certain ring to it which I like. They have all sorts of delicious, healthy bread, tarts and cakes, and you can find them all over Andalucia. The bread comes in brown paper bags and is quite unlike anything else you that is made here, both in terms of taste and texture: dense, and heavy, w¡th a strong flavour.

When I first arrived in Seville, over seven years ago, there were very few places selling organic products. The number has gone up since then, though not that much, so this market is a welcome new regular event. Organic production itself in Andalucia is surprisingly widespread, considering the lack of produce available to the public. This is partly because people aren’t prepared to pay the prices – sometimes double – which it costs, and partly because they just don’t know what it is. In the UK and US, pesticide and chemical-free food is the norm for many people. Also, some people don’t trust Spanish organic certification – it may say it’s organic, but what exactly does that mean? Are the regulations strict enough, and are they really adhered to?

Organic production is increasing in Andalucia: in 2009, there were nearly 8,000 producers, up 4% on the previous year, with the majority in Almeria and Granada. Although the provinces with most land given over to organic production are Huelva and Jaen, with the latter’s main crop producing one of the region’s main organic products: olive oil, which accounts for 31% of organic crops in Andalucia. In total, the amount of land given over to organic production in 2009 increased by over 10% – that’s a considerable amount. The greater the demand for organic goods in Andalucia, the more of this healthy food will stay here for us to enjoy.

Nave de Barranco, site of future gastro-market

Nave de Barranco, site of future gastro-market

And so to the other piece of gastronomic news for today: Seville is about to get its very own gourmet market, in the style of Mercado San Miguel in Madrid. The Nave de Barranco, a beautiful cast-iron-and-glass building next to the Triana bridge, designed by one of Eiffel’s disciples and which used to house a tourist office and exhibition space, will be its home. A second storey will have to be built to make more space to accommodate the market.

It’s a great location, just outside the centre but still easy to get to, and in the busy Plaza de Armas-Paseo Colon-Triana Bridge area, which many people pass through on foot. It’s a wonderful idea, but like many cynics in the city, I wonder if it will actually happen – and within our lifetime.

Here is a short video in which you can see the interior of the Nave. Nave de Barranco, Sevilla

  1. 8 Responses to “Market forces”

  2. I love the idea of the gourmet market, and it’s close enough to the Triana Market to make it a complementary shopping destination. Though I have to admit that I buy very few “specialty” gourmet items, it’s still fun to browse. The idea of them building a second storey on that lovely building makes me shudder…

    I didn’t realise the Alameda organic market was a weekly thing. I quite enjoyed going the other day but found it a bit lacking in variety. But if they ever start stocking parsnips I’ll be there almost every week.

    By azahar on Dec 13, 2010

  3. Thanks for your comment, Azahar. Yes, the gourmet market is very exciting. I don’t buy that much of that kind of thing either, but the odd treat in El CI Gourmet section is great. I hope this new market will have plenty of variety, not just jars of asparagus and red peppers. I want local fresh produce, Andalucian food you can’t get anywhere else, like artesanal cheeses.
    The Alameda one could be better, I agree, but I reckon it’s very much customer-driven – if enough people ask for something, they’ll bring it.
    Do you know when the Setas market is opening? It’s meant to be before Christmas.

    By fiona on Dec 13, 2010

  4. My sources tell me the Setas market will be opening this Sunday. Hard to believe given the state of the place, but it would be nice for the vendors.

    By azahar on Dec 15, 2010

  5. Ooh, how exciting. I’m very sorry I will miss that. I will rely on you to keep me informed while I’m away, Azahar, and shall visit it on my return. Any idea on finishing dates for the restaurant/skywalk etc?

    By fiona on Dec 15, 2010

  6. The bread and cake stall in the Alameda market, from the German bakery on Calle San Luis, is rather wonderful (she says stuffing her face with cake at every available opportunity, which isn’t many around these parts).

    By fiona on Jan 26, 2012

  7. Agree re second storey, though not sure if whole gourmet market thing will ever get off the ground, in this economic climate. In the Alameda market, I love the bread and cake stall from the German bakery on San Luis (she says, stuffing her face with cake at every available opportunity, which isn’t very often around these parts).

    By fiona on Jan 26, 2012

  8. Hi, does anyone have any up to date details of the market i.e. days and times it’s on? Thanks.

    By Jen on Jun 10, 2012

  9. Hi Jen, thanks for your comment. Second Saturday of every month – don’t know about hours, I’d guess 10/11am to 6pm-ish. Hope that helps!

    By fiona on Jun 11, 2012

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