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Markets: Shop Like a Local

The main markets in the north of Mallorca are in Pollença Old Town every Sunday morning, in the port every Wednesday morning and in Alcudia every Tuesday and Sunday morning. In Puerto Alcudia, there is a fruit and vegetable market every Friday morning. In general, markets are open from 8 or 9 in the morning until 2 pm.

TIP 1. If you want to shop them like a local, get there early. Parking gets tricky, and once you’re walking around, the narrow streets get jam-packed. In the heat, this is not the best experience. Arriving before 10 am can make all the difference. Once you’ve bought your fruit and veg, have a look at the artisanal stalls, you’ll be ready for a coffee and a chance to sit back and soak up the atmosphere.

TIP 2. Once you’re ready to buy your fresh produce—bag-for-life in hand—have a little walk around first. The price per kilo of the same produce can vary from stall to stall, so do a recce. Think about what’s on your list and look out for it on your round of the market. Make a note of the lowest prices and go back to that stall. Note, you don’t have to buy everything at the same stall.

TIP 3. Most stallholders own their fincas where the produce is grown. Talk to the market seller. He or she will be delighted to tell you more about it and, if it’s something you’re not familiar with, how to eat or cook it. Ask them where it is grown, whether they grew it themselves, it’s all quite interesting, and you’ll come away having discovered something new.

TIP 4. As it comes from their fincas, many stallholders specialise in one thing in particular. If you see a stall selling only tomatoes, head there. It is likely they are the best tomatoes in the market and s/he will have products derived from them. For example, sundried tomatoes, tomato chutney. Likewise, a citrus stall, the seller will have brought the best oranges and lemons available. If that is the only thing available on the stall then his/her livelihood depends on it, they’re going to be good. Also, look out for the smaller stalls, this is likely to be the more traditional stall where the seller is trading their excess crops from their own finca. Worth searching out for the friendly chat, if nothing else.

TIP 5. Once you’ve had a good look round, you will have an idea of what’s in season. You might want to amend your shopping list. If you wanted cherries but there are more strawberries around, take them instead. The chances are they will be better and cheaper. Once fruits and veg start going out of season, the price can jump. Likewise, if it is in season, look for the larger quantities, for example, the 2kg wooden boxes or punnets. It may seem a lot but the prices will be better (just make sure you’ve sussed it on your recce first).

One piece of advice is not to touch and press everything as you check for quality and ripeness, unsurprisingly the sellers don’t like it. If you’re friendly to the stallholder, you will be repaid with the same and s/he will likely offer you a sample. S/he will also bag things up for you and give you the best they have. Lastly, don’t be intimidated by the market, most speak enough English to be able to serve you. Add the odd Spanish word from you (dos kilos por favor); then the whole exchange will be a much more fun experience.

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