The city of Bra takes its farmer’s markets seriously. It’s such a serious matter that when I first arrived, the owner of the B&B where I was staying sternly sat down with me to map out the various markets, which piazze they reside in, the days they operate, and the pros and cons of each one. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. And yet, when I went and visited a handful of the markets he directed me to, I found myself to be completely underwhelmed. I expected bountiful supplies of local fruits and vegetables, farm fresh milk and meat. What I found were stalls selling anything but what is traditionally found at a farmer’s markets. These markets are the place to go when you are on the hunt for bed sheets, lingerie, jeggings and sport socks. Among all the garbage you’re sadly left with just a few measly tents selling produce and cheese.
Yesterday morning, however, I discovered the picturesque market I had been looking for. Not a pillow set or track suit in site, the Friday market at Piazza Giolitti on the western edge of Bra is a delight. I bundled up and headed to the market to be rewarded with farmers residing over tables and crates abound with local fruits and vegetables, honey, hazelnuts, cheese and meat. I stumbled through my Italian, asking for quattro of this, un po’ of that and un mezzo of those. My shopping bag was quickly filled to the brim with spoils: fennel, leeks, radicchio, lettuce, pears and a small basket of fresh ricotta for my morning toast before I caught the bus to school. I’d say it was perfect start to the day. I no longer need to carry around the hand-scribbled map of Bra markets as I now know just where I am heading every Friday morning.