To market, to market
Neos Kosmos shares a day in the life of stallholders and looks at the pros and cons of market shopping in Melbourne
For the first week of October, Melbourne's three iconic markets - the Queen Victoria Market, the South Melbourne Market and the Prahran Market - will join forces to celebrate Market Week.
The three markets have developed a week-long calendar of fun adventures for the whole family specifically designed to celebrate Melbourne's unique market culture and highlight the many benefits of market shopping. Market lifestyle is deeply entrenched in Greek culture.
From the times of the agora in Ancient Greece, to the modern day streetside selling of seafood, fruit and veg; bartering and spruiking fresh produce is something that comes naturally to Greeks. The early days of migration to Australia, saw Greeks heavily involved in the market way of life. From the wholesale growing of fruit and veg, the farmers on the land, to the orchard growers of the Riverland South Australia, the stall holders all over Australia and the humble butcher, even the importers who sell Greek cheeses, dips and dried oregano at the markets, have all added a Hellenic element into the market shopping experience.
Peter Kaparis, who runs PK Fruit in the Queen Victoria Market told Neos Kosmos that "Greeks historically have a strong presence in the fruit and veg environment." And not just as stall holders in markets, but in the whole process - growing, market gardening and retail. "The funny thing is," he adds, "they've all been islanders as well, from the Ionian sea islands like Ithaca, Kefalonia or Zakynthos."
As a Zakynthian himself, Kaparis has been at stall A17-20 for over 22 years. His clients range from judges, firefighters, office workers, underworld figures and politicians - but whoever they are, and whatever their background, he has good relationships with all of them. "We swap a lot of stories," said Kaparis of his Greek clientele, "and just the other day we were talking about the Patris (the ship). My family came out in early '65 when I was about 9 months old and I told him what day I disembarked on the ship and it turned out he was on the same ship. It was amazing."
It's those stories and those relationships that make market shopping so unique and the ideal place to not only get fresh produce, but to feel part of a community. Angelo Zahos has been in the market community since he was born. His father bought Aptus Seafoods at the South Melbourne Market in 1969, the year Angelo was born. In his lifetime he has seen the markets change and evolve but one thing remains certain, the community feel is always there.
"I have seen three generations grow at the market. Sometimes when you see a child grow into an adult and you think 'how old am I?,'" laughed Angelo. He said the loyalty of his customers was such that their grown children follow tradition and buy their seafood at his shop.
Market shopping isn't for the faint-hearted, but is so much fun. All your senses are in overdrive. It's a noisy, smelly, busy, bright place. It's filled with all sorts of characters pushing and shoving to get the best product at the cheapest price. And most importantly, you can do all your shopping under one roof. With Australia having markets in all capital cities and farmers markets popping up left, right and centre, there really isn't any excuse not to. Kaparis thinks there is more to the Queen Victoria Market then just the doughnuts.
He believes many people choose market shopping because you "get a bargain, and you get fresh produce" and if you don't like the look of one product, you have a whole market to choose from. "People come to the market because of the market atmosphere, the yelling the spruiking the hustle and bustle. Greeks have always been in love with the sea so they come down to buy fresh seafood, your deli stuff - it's all there." Zahos agrees and said that market shopping is more "personalised". "The food is much, much better. I don't know how people eat the food you buy in supermarkets."
Market Week runs from Sunday 2 October to Sunday 9 October. For full program details, visit marketsofmelbourne.com.au/marketweek
- Register Now
- Golden Dawn's Australian aspirations uncovered
- More Greeks calling Australia home
- Paedophilia charge for Greek Australian
- Greek Adelaide church in hot water again
- Fans make the Wanderers a good investment
- Do it like the Greeks says German consul
- Sixth place for Alcohol is Free
- Tailor made coffee
- AFP show support for Cyprus
- Turkey condemns NSW's genocide recognition
- 8 May 2013 | 12 Votes
- 3 May 2013 | 9 Votes
- 15 May 2013 | 9 Votes
- 8 May 2013 | 8 Votes
- 13 May 2013 | 7 Votes
- 24 Apr 2013 | 6 Votes
Closed in 1996, the High School nurtured many young Greeks
A conversation with three succesful women in finance and banking will give advice on how to succeed in business
Marcos Rojas will join the German team and leave behind his team of two years, Melbourne Victory
"Some kids get their parents' jewellery or record collections as hand-me-downs. Mum gave me this name." Melon Fouraki
Greek Australian owned cosmetics company 'Kroma' is taking the Kardashians to court over naming their company 'Khroma'
University Entrance Exams begin today after Greek teachers call off strike
Internet based sister classes connect Greek classrooms to Australian ones in a way to collaboratively learn the language
Coach Graham Arnold still has high hopes for a win next week
The 4.2-billion-euro installment is expected on Friday
The ratings agency believes the country has stabilised and moved its rating up to B-
Greece finishes up in sixth place at this year's Eurovision Song Contest with Denmark taking the top gong.
The annual tour to Adelaide will pass through Mount Lofty, Victor Harbor, Glenelg and the Barossa Valley
Greeks lend a helping hand to those who are suffering in the face of the crisis
Known as Heracleion to the ancient Greeks the town lies 9 meters down the Mediterranean ocean
A dancer for more than 15 years, 20-year-old Natalie Marinopoulos will shine in the world's first amateur production of the famous musical, The Phantom Of The Opera
Technical terminology is okay if it provides shorthand for complex ideas, explains Mark Bouris
Senator claims Labor's asylum seeker policy is the reason for the government turning a blind eye to the Malaysian election result
Campaigner for the Cypriot community for years, Mr Toumbourou was beloved by many in the Greek and Cypriot community