Before the carnation revolution, farmers had to sell their crops to the state at a price set by the state. The revolution’s seeds were sown by these farmers and grew to overthrow the Salazar regime. The spirit of the carnation revolution lives on with these small farmers who can feed the country and enjoy the monetary fruits of their labor.
These small local producers are exempt from taxes on the sales, and pay just a small fee for the booth and to take a course on food safety. However in 2013 during austerity, there was a proposal by the governing majority to tax these small producers. The citizen and I were happy to sign the petitions and distribute flyers in solidarity with the growers. Small farmers from these local markets from all over Portugal descended on Lisbon to protest and fortunately the proposal was defeated.
Please watch this superb video by our friend Pam that captures the spirit of the original Mercado do Levante perfectly.
It’s great living where the small farmers in the area can sell their fruits and veggies directly to their customers, they sell what’s in season. Soon you have a favorite vendor who will throw in an extra clementine or two and during holidays give you a shot of aguardente de medronho, be careful with this stuff, it’s more powerful than tequila!
Lagos now has two local producer markets a week. Saturday is the big one. The Mercado do Levante is currently outdoor in the Sports Complex parking lot. Usually it’s home is in a recently renovated building next to the Bus Station. But it was temporarily moved due to the pandemic and the renovations. Mercardo do Levante was one of the first public local grower agricultural markets in the country, once democracy arrived in 1974. Before the renovations there was a mural on the wall outside the market, pictured above. The hours are from 8am until 1pm. We look forward to it moving back to the bus station building, as it is closer to home.
In the past two years the Wednesday market cropped up. Vivo Mercado features a lot of certified organic produce and products. It is across from the City Hall, next to the elementary school and opens at 4pm in winter, 5pm in summer. Comparing the two markets the prices are of course understanbly higher for the certified organic produce, but we have noticed some non organic producers raising their prices at the Vivo Mercardo, so the Mercado do Levante is the place for bargains. Luckily our favorite grower sells at both and has kept the same prices.
Please see video of Vivo Mercado taken from my scooter, uh kids don't film and drive.
The Vivo Mercado or as I like to call it the "happy hour market" now has cute little stalls to protect the growers from the elements, It’s become a bit of a social occasion, home made treats, crafts and food trucks with beer and wine, encourage everyone to pull up to a table and get the gossip. Sometimes there is live music which is always a treat.
There is a bit of a ramp so I can scooter up and join the fun, and it has an accessible bathroom. The scooter is also handy for haulingour week’s shopping back to the apartment, we call it the burro. After living in Portuguese towns, anywhere we move has to have a good fruit and vegetables market, that and a proper castle.