Don’t be shy, shop at the market

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Buying products at Campagna Amica for the first time may be very confusing. However, with the right knowledge, it can be an enjoyable cultural experience. When you first enter the market and head near the fruit and vegetable stands you’ll notice many people crowded together. They appear to be helped randomly by the vendor without much structure to the process.  But if you observe the exchange a little longer you will notice a system unique to this environment.

To the side of the each fruit and vegetable stand there are tickets, if you would like to be helped grab a ticket and it will indicate a number and your place in line. This allows the vendor to help each customer in the order that they have approached their stand, functioning as an alternative to a traditional queue.  There are several practical benefits for this process.  Firstly, it helps to relieve the congestion a traditional line would create. The market is full of vendors and shoppers, making space limited and forming a line would be difficult. Secondly, it avoids any confusion about who goes first, everyone is friendly and goes by their number. Finally, it gives the customer, you, the opportunity to continue to shop around the market until your number is called.

When your number is called, it’s your turn to make your way to the front of the crowd and tell the vendor what you would like. If you’re visiting from somewhere that doesn’t use the metric system it is important to keep in mind that the metric system is used in Italy, therefore used in the Campagna Amica market. This means some foods such as spinach and kale are purchased in measurements of kilograms. However, it’s sometimes possible to purchase a certain number of  fruit for a set standard price. For example, you can just tell the vendor you would like 3 apples rather than a ½ kilo. Your time at the market at first may seem overwhelming and confusing, but if you take your time and look around you will easily find your way.