Often, on my way back from the beach at Livadia, I stop at the farmer’s market. Well, more than a market, it’s a row of produce stands behind the chapel near the port. Local farmers sit there in the shade displaying their produce—tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, onions, potatoes, horta and whatever else is in season. Some sell salted capers, basil plants, wine and souma. Only local products. Last year we would often buy from a woman who would come twice a week from Naxos to sell cheese made by her family. Since we rarely felt like buying a whole wheel, she would cut off a piece then wrap it in waxed paper—never wrap cheese in plastic, she said. So I bought a big piece of gauze, washed it and bleached it in the sun and now use only that to wrap our cheese. It’s ecological, economical and projects a sense of aesthetics.
This year there’s one elderly farmer I like to buy from because of his attitude. Plus he always gives me something extra like a cucumber or a head of garlic. The other day he gave me a lemon but insisted that first I smell it which I did. Wow, what a perfume! My nose was instantly addicted. He sells cheese, too. Before letting me buy, he took out his pocket knife and cut off a piece so I could taste it then asked: “kalo?” (“good?”). The whole gesture was very poetic. And the cheese was definitely “kalo.”
Obviously, the first thing I did when I got home was put the cheese in its cloth.