Lettuce, onions, garlic, dill and parsley – all these are fresh vegetables, which everybody is trying to put on their table, even before the beginning of the Spring. After the cold winter months and pickles, it is time for the green salads and all other sorts of grassy edible plants, forming part of the springtime menu. Where can these be found in Sofia and what is their price? Where to shop cheap and feel pleasant? explored two Sofia markets.

Naturally, for the comparison purposes we pass through the oldest, most popular and largest market in Sofia – the Zhenski Pazar Market. It can always be used as the standard for diversity and prices. What we found was that prices there were 3 to 6 times cheaper, and for some vegetables this difference is even 8 times, compared to the market in Druzhba 1. Do not look for reasons, such as location, remoteness or rent of the stalls.

It’s just that there are various types of merchants, and therefore there are various types of markets, and everyone makes their own personal choices. Some merchants prefer to sell high-quality products at a good price, keeping their clients, because this is their business. And then there are merchants, who act on the market, based on the principle “one day can get you through the year”, as those in Druzhba 1. Prices there are artificially inflated, despite the close proximity of a Green-Groceries Commodity Exchange, where these merchants get their products.

It is believe that on that local market, there are almost no producers, 90% are resellers, who forget about fiscal receipts and pass for farmers. The price of cucumbers at the Druzhba 1 market is BGN 5 to BGN 6.50, and their quality is dubious. The good cucumbers are displayed on top of the stall and freshened-up with some water. Underneath there are even frozen ones, which prove to be completely spoilt a couple of hours later. A kilo of peppers costs BGN 6, and tomatoes – BGN 6.50. As a comparison, the price of the same red peppers on the Zhenski Pazar Market is BGN 1.50, as their quality is guaranteed there. In this way, even if you have to pay for two tram tickets, which will take you to the centre of Sofia, still a kilogram of peppers would turn out cheaper than buying them in Druzhba 1. 

Radishes and green onion can be bought at the Zhenski Pazar Market for BGN 0.50 each, and merchants sell them in two 2 bunches for one lev. Lettuce is sold at 3 pcs. for BGN 2, or approximately BGN 0.65 per piece. As a comparison – on the market in Druzhba green onions are sold for BGN 1.50, and lettuce – BGN 2 – 2.20. Tomatoes vary between BGN 3,50 and 6.50 per kilogram. At Zhenski Pazar Market one kilo is precisely BGN 1.50.

So whatever the precise details, one thing is clear – Zhenski Pazar Market is the low-price heaven in Sofia. And it is worth it to go there at least once a week. It is clean and nice, you can find everything there – from fruits and vegetables to aromatic coffee varieties, meat, bee’s products, exotic fruit and all sorts of temptations. And to top it all – every Thursday a special mobile shop parks there, offering fresh veal directly from the producers to a queue of eager customers.

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