Just about when Babs was feeling like all these farmers markets looked a bit samey, my case for dawdling with a camera got renewed (whew!) when we came across these giant alien-looking discs at the traditional Stary Kleparz Market in Krakow, Poland.
After circling a few times, peering at them up close, and prodding them a little, we finally realised that these were, essentially, a large bag of sunflower seeds in their original packaging. (This may be far more obvious to some of you, but certainly not to this city girl at the time.)
To put the above in context, here's a sunflower in the middle of the seeding process, which I photographed at a flower show in Tallinn, Estonia, a couple of weeks later.
Another first-time find at Stary Kleparz Market: these luscious tomato-shaped peppers.
It being August at the time meant that locals were currently enjoying the best of 2 seasons: late summer berries, and early autumn wild mushrooms. Some stalls had mountains of both, but there were plenty of locals simply hawking just one basket of whatever they foraged or grew at home, e.g., blueberries and wild strawberries sold by the cupful.
The lack of a kitchen pained me greatly when I saw these heaps of bulbuous porcini. Fortunately, the popular Polish restaurant U Babci Maliny (which delightfully translates as Grandmother Raspberry) served up a mushroom soup that did them justice (read the post here).
The Poles take their pork pretty seriously. I'm not sure I've seen a ham display this large anywhere else. Not even in Spain. Well, not this well organized, at least.
Given Krakow is on Poland's landlocked southern side, most of the fish we saw was smoked or pickled. Up north, freshwater fish such as carp, perch and eel from native lakes are popular picks for regional cuisine.
GlobArt Hostel , where we stayed, is just round the corner from the market, which made for cheerfully cheap and downright delicious lunches, with a view of Krakow's Old Town.