In the shimmering heat of a late summer’s day, simple delicacies are on sale at the Souk el Tayeb: green almonds, mulberries, thyme-infused honey, and pastries filled with peppers and tomatoes ripened by the fierce eastern Mediterranean sun.
Christina Codsi is the guiding force behind Beirut’s first
farmers’ market. ‘Try a peach,’ she suggests, leaning over for one between
flatbreads roasting over hot coals and rows of gnarly wooden lemon squeezers.
‘Have you ever tasted flavour so intense?’
The weekly market aims to give the farmers who staff it a
fair chance of selling their produce at a price that means they no longer feel
pushed to abandon their lands and permanently migrate to the city; a visit
every Saturday is enough. ‘We often have 60 stalls set up here,’ says
Christina. ‘Each of the diverse communities of Lebanon is represented in the
market, sharing a goal.
‘The farmers enjoy campaigning,’ she adds, reciting their favourite
slogans: ‘Seeds for Peace’ and ‘Make Food Not War’.
Peter Grunert is the
editor of Lonely Planet Magazine and recently spent a long weekend in Beirut.
This article was
published in partnership with Lonely Planet