We write a lot about the local food markets in Turkey but we’ve never written about our favourite one – until today that is. Our favourite food market is the Fethiye Friday market or the Cuma Köy Pazarı.
Fethiye Friday Market
Cuma Köy Pazarı means the Friday Village Market and that’s why we like to go here so much. It’s on the same site as the Tuesday market in Fethiye but you won’t see the clothes and souvenir stalls of the big market here. Fridays are for locally grown fruit and vegetables only, set along the canal and also under the covered area.
And, whereas the Tuesday market is absolutely packed with shoppers of all types, well, you can see for yourself in the photo above, the Fethiye Friday market is a market where you can amble around in your own space and your own time, browse the stalls, pick and choose. In our guide to Çalış Sunday market, we said that was chilled and relaxed, as is Çiftlik Market on Thursdays, too – but the Friday pazar beats both Çalış and Çiftlik hands down in the chill factor stakes.
And you won’t see the usual market traders here. These people are villagers from the surrounding areas and they come to sell their produce. The stalls are haphazard; some displays neatly arranged, but many are just a mixed pile of random goodies from fruits, salad stuffs and vegetables to large plastic tubs of homemade pekmez (molasses from various seasonal fruits), nar ekşisi, olive oil, cured olives and usually a few village eggs balancing precariously on top of everything, just for good measure.
We don’t go to the Fethiye Friday market with a shopping list. No, the village market is for browsing and perusing – because the thing is, you just never know what’s going to be there. It’s whatever the villagers have on the day and that’s what you’re going to buy to make your fridge and cupboards a tad more interesting in a random kind of way.
In the photo below from August, you can see that prickly pears are in season. We’ve never bought them, but we’re really tempted. We just need to work out what to do with them, first, and to be honest, those prickly parts don’t look too friendly! There’s a lot of that going on at the Fethiye Friday Market – sometimes, we don’t even know what it is that we’re looking at! And labels often don’t help because it’s the village market, you see…with village names for a lot of the produce. Dialect is a beautiful aspect of language – it’s just not so helpful when you’re trying to work out what a foodstuff is.
Sometimes we’ll struggle to find the staples like potatoes and onions – but that’s okay. We buy those on Tuesdays and Sundays. We come home from the Friday market with random bags – courgette flowers, when they’re in season; small bunches of wildflowers that have been picked around the local villages; wild salad leaves that are just described as yeşillik (greenery). We genuinely have no idea what a lot of the leaves are – but they’re edible and they make for more interesting salads like this Turkish wild radish leaf salad.
And if you get hungry whilst you’re browsing the sometimes weird and wonderful produce, you won’t see the huge street food area of kebab stands that do good trade on the Tuesday and Sunday markets, but you will see a couple of stalls selling bazlama and gözleme (Turkish flat breads) – and this is good gözleme. Not too oily, not too thin and crispy, but packed with filling – and it’s usually a lira or two cheaper than on the main markets. It’s a little added bonus to the random Friday shopping trip…