Forget saving your pocket change for the laundry mat, it is much more enjoyable to spend a handful of euro coins at the market in The Hague. The reason I say coins is because just about everything the produce vendors sell comes in a bowl which is priced at one euro. A pocketful of small change will buy you enough fresh produce to last you through the week. Might I say that this means a lot coming from someone who eats more than her fair share of vegetables.
The produce vendors at the Haagse Markt pack just about every kind of green you can imagine into reusable plastic, metal or whicker baskets. The size of the baskets vary depending on the size of the fruit or vegetable. In all cases deep purple aubergines, handsome zucchinis, rich red tomatoes, bright orange carrots, sassy strawberries and radiant rutabagas can all be yours for just one euro. Somehow I seem to be echoing the shouts of the vendors, but in all honestly the deals here are incredible! My picks for the day were sweet red peppers, red grapefruits and spinach. I would have bought more if it weren’t for my commute back to Leiden at rush hour. A small word of advice, bring your own shopping bags if you can to avoid coming home with plastic bags that are mostly too thin and too small to reuse. Further, don’t buy more than you need. The produce tends to go bad fairly quickly and you don’t want to end up throwing food away.
Conveniently the market in the Hague is open four days per week from 08.00-17.00. From Den Haag Central Station take the number 6 tram direction Leyenburg and get off at Hobbemaplein. This market is far from anything you would find in the Hague’s beautiful but undeniably poshy centre. Yet, it is in every way a market for the city and its people.
I would love to hear what others have to say about the advantages and disadvantages of buying produce at this sort of market versus from the grocery store. I think we have to leave farmer’s markets out of this discussion. Presumably produce at farmer’s markets is the best because it has traveled the least amount of time, has been most recently picked and in many cases comes from richer soil and organic conditions. That aside, is shopping at the market always the better choice? I love the experience, but what other factors should be considered?