Serbian Green Market - Pijaca

The tomato originates from Peru where it grew wild. There still are 8 species of wild tomatoes in the Andes. After colonization of the continent, tomatoes came to Europe. In Europe, it was thought that its fruit was toxic and used only as an ornamental plant. The Serbian word for tomato is “paradajz”. It was believed that tomatoes lead to your death so the tomato plant was called paradajz (paradise). It is roughly pronounced “paradise” and when you taste one that is what it tastes like. The Mediterranean climate proved to be ideal for this plant. The tomatoes bought in North America at a supermarket have a plastic taste even when they are “organic”. They look lovely but lack the taste of a garden grown with love and care.

Tomatoes on our balcony
We decided to have our own tomato garden on our balcony in a heart of downtown Vancouver, Canada. We bought the seeds, pots, soil, tools and were looking forward to “the back breaking labor of gardening.”  It took a long time before the flowers came out indicating we should get the tomatoes soon but it seemed like forever before we saw the first tomato .We had nice tall plants, the tomatoes looked good and they smelled good when they finally arrived in August after planting them in March. We were hoping that our tomatoes will have a more natural taste but they were was exactly like from the store - tasteless. Maybe this is just not the right climate for this plant.

In Serbia, every town has a green market (pijaca) with real organic products. Products are often grown in the area immediately around the city. Open air markets are a tradition but also an everyday necessity for many. The variety of goods for sale at the average market is always impressive. It is possible to get a great bargain on most products, if you’re a shrewd negotiator. Pijaca is a vibrant and exciting place to explore even if you aren't looking to buy.
If you’re in Serbia you have to eat a šopska salata. It’s great salad, with nothing but tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and hot peppers, topped with a Serbian cheese that tastes similar to grated feta. In Serbia, one šopska is large enough to be dinner, but actually it is just an appetizer.


David said...

Nothing beats a fresh tomato from a Serbian garden or a Spanish one also. In both countries you can even buy really decent and tasty tomatoes on the market or in greengroceries, not so in the supermarkets of Western Europe. And if you buy them in greengroceries they indeed do not taste the same, I think it has to do with the climate.

By the way, nice blog, I keep an eye on it. ;)

Nenad Ciric said...

I agree David, thanks for your comment.