Fethiye Friday Market – A Guide

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.

Fethiye Friday Market

Fethiye village market is never crowded

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.

Friday Market, Fethiye

The stalls are more haphazard than Fethiye and Çalış markets

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.

Village Produce, Fethiye Friday Market

The villagers sell whatever is in season

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…

Comments

  1. I love that notion of ONLY selling what’s in season. How healthy and sensible. 🙂

  2. I miss all the fresh fruit and vegetables in the Fethiye markets, especially the summer selection. Australia is obsessed with using Australian produce, which is all very well but some of it is terrible quality. Afiyet olsun!

  3. I miss Turkey’s fresh fruit and vegetables, especially the summer selection. Australia is obsessed with using Australian produce, which is all very well in principle, but some of it is terrible quality and it is SO expensive. Afiyet olsun!

  4. prickly pears are delicious! Locals put a couple of plastic bags on each hand and rub the fruit to remove the spines and then split them open – I’ve never done this, I use a knife and fork and skin them the hard way! Put the fruit in a bowl of iced water and keep in the fridge. Scrunch the whole of the innards, seeds an’ all, preferably with ice cream – yummy!

  5. And the best benefit of buying from local village growers is that they generally grow without chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers, so you are often getting organic food without the price increase that is charged for certified organic produce. And of course natural growing conditions mean much better nutrition values because the soils have not been depleted of their minerals.

    Prickly pears are super good for you and have all 8 amino acids that we can’t make in our own bodies, so stuff your face! In Central America they’ve used them for their anti diabetic properties for 1000’s of years. They are also very anti inflammatory (good for achey muscles and crampy ladies!). They have a load of vitamins and minerals in them and they are good for your cardiovascular system and your heart (I forget why, but you could google it). If I could get them I’d be a munching!!!

    If they are freshly picked they probably still have their prickles (unlike supermarket ones) so here is a link on how to prepare them without getting spiked: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_cut_and_prepare_prickly_pears/

  6. I can see why you love this market. No souvenirs etc. Knowing that it’s just local villagers growing the freshest produce is great.I’m tasting the gozleme already!!

  7. Where is the market located

  8. @ Rambling Tart: Well it just makes more sense doesn’t it to grow what’s seasonal. Silly that we all demand the same fruits and vegetables, year round.

    @ Liv: I would have imagined the Australian produce to be really good. How weird. Not surprised you miss the Turkish seasonal food, then. 🙂

  9. @ Alan: Oh, thanks for the recipe. I think all the prickly bits have been removed already when they’re selling them on Fethiye market. Will have to investigate further. Definitely going to buy some, though. 🙂

    @ Cally: Wow, that was a lot of info – and all good news, too. Thanks for that. Think we’ll keep our eye out for some next time we’re at Fethiye market. 🙂

  10. @ Jenny: Oh, the gözleme is so good!! And the Fethiye Friday market is so chilled, too. a great way to do your shopping. 🙂

    @ Peter: The Fethiye Friday market is on the same site as the Tuesday market, along the canal in the centre of town. 🙂

  11. One thing I love about Turkey! The super fresh, organic and cheap fruits and veggies at the local farmer markets!

  12. @ Matt: The markets in Turkey are fab, aren’t they. We always hunt one out wherever we go. Highlight of any trip. 🙂

  13. Somewhere I have a photo of me shopping in the Fethiye market in 1981. I must fish it out and send it to you so you can compare. I bet it won’t look too different to today.

  14. @ BacktoBodrum: This is the Friday market and will probably never change. I bet the Tuesday market has grown a lot, though. Would love to see your photo. 🙂

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