When citrus is in season, you see vendors selling the bounty of their fruit trees.
Winter is citrus season in Portugal. And, the sweet fruit isn’t just grown on farms. It seems just about every house has a citrus tree or two. Even public spaces like parks and medians in the street often have orange trees planted in them.
So, when the fruit is ripe, there’s a huge bounty to harvest.
Some people, like my friends Helenice and Elaina make delicious marmalade. Helenice gave me a jar and it’s incredible.
Other folks make juice or snack on the fruit.
There’s so much citrus, in fact, that you’ll often see them lying on the ground. No one had the time to pick the oranges.
Then, there’s the enterprising folks who will sell the excess bounty. There’s a lady who, with her son, sets up in front of the grocery store in our town. Every time I pass by I think “That takes some cajones, competing with a national grocery chain on their front porch!”
Then, there’s our neighbor. She just opens her front door and has crates of oranges, clementines, and tangerines ready to go. For 1 Euro she fills a plastic bag with over 1.5 pounds of juicy fruit.
I also walk by a restaurant every day that has a crate of oranges and lemons out front. A small sign advertises them for about a dollar a pound. The owner must have a few trees in his yard.
I gotta say, I love this gray market in Portugal and try to support these folks by purchasing their fruit. I’m also hoping that as spring and summer rolls around, more fruit and veg will be sold on the street.
About the Author
Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides to Lisbon, Porto, Sintra, Monsaraz, and Evora in Portugal. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms and is distributed by the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.