I love exploring different markets. They provide such an insight into the culture of a place, plus finding things you can't find anywhere else feels like a treasure hunt.
But when I went to check out Farmer's India Market in Norton, MA, I was blown away!
The market replaced the full-sized Roche Bros. Supermarket. Usually, the markets I've visited were small unless they were outdoor markets, but this was a regular supermarket bursting with Indian ingredients. Honestly, I wandered the store for nearly 45 minutes in wonder at all the different items on offer.
My first experience was the aisle and a half of rice. You could find any kind of rice there and in any quantity. From boxes to multiple-pound bags, I really learned how integral rice is to the Indian diet.
Then there was one side of an aisle just for tea. There was a little coffee added to the end of the aisle, but 90% of the space was taken for tea. Let these two things sink in the next time you go to your grocery store. Stand in front of the rice and tea sections. Then look right and left and imagine the rest of the space was filled with other tea or rice, and in the case of rice, the shelves behind you also hold rice. Truly eye-opening.
If you are looking for spices, you definitely want to visit the spice aisle. Again a full aisle dedicated to different spices and variations of those spices. For example, they had ground cinnamon, but also different types of cinnamon sticks and even cinnamon bark. There were spices and spice blends I'd heard about but didn't know where to find, and now I do.
As you wander through the produce and meat sections, you can discover ingredients essential to Indian recipes, again that you may have a hard time finding otherwise.
My biggest takeaway from this field trip was how much I don't know about food and how much more there is to explore. It truly ignited my passion for digging deeper into different cultural foods because, although I've tasted a lot, there is so much more to learn.
I was so overwhelmed I didn't purchase anything, but now as I do more research, I can't wait to go back with a shopping list.