Every Saturday from 7:00 – 17:00 in the Şişli Belediyesi Otopark, amongst the neighborhood’s urban sprawl, you can find organic fruits, vegetables, dairy products, personal care products, and some of the best gözleme and fresh squeezed juice in the district. Organic farmers and store owners from around the city and surrounding area gather under the roof and tarps next to the Uğur Center and Buğday Association for Ecological Living in Bomonti to sell their varied all natural products.

I venture over as much as I can – sometimes just to people watch all the varied demographics that congregate there – and I actually ended up perusing one recent Saturday. I try to grab whatever fruits and vegetables seem freshest. If you’re unsure about what’s good right now or whose products are better, all the stands will be willing to give you a sample (but don’t fill up yet). Then, pick up some organic honey. Once you try it, you’ll never go back to the store-bought, fructose corn syrup stuff. There’s even some organic bread you can purchase to slather it on. If you have a hankering for dairy products you can also check out the organic yogurt, cheese, milk, etc.

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Some people have an aversion or allergy to artificial chemicals in their hygienic products. If this describes you, here you can get your organic detergents, body washes, shampoo, makeup, and even deodorant if you get irritated by aluminum. I’ve never tried any of these, but let us know in the comments if there’s anything worthwhile!

My favorite from the farms and stores that meet here though is the stand that sells granola and dried fruits. I miss being able to grab quality granola from stores at an affordable price. So, if I’m already forking out the cash I’d rather get the good stuff from here as opposed to Migros. They’ll give you samples mixed with organic yogurt and the salesmen are always up for friendly chats when I’ve been there.

While I love granola, my true love at this market – because I’m lazy – is the ready-made food. The gözleme is rightfully the most well-known, but it’s not the only thing. They always have cheese, spinach, and potato ones. If you get there early, though, you can have some of the weekly specials before they run out. Last week was eggplant and ground beef, but I was too late… Then, pair it with some tea or fresh squeezed juice. Right now there’s orange, apple, and carrot. But, you’ll frequently see pomegranate and other combinations depending on the season. The other food is great and always fresh. You can have all varieties of börek, sarma and other traditional Turkish foods, but the absolute gem is the mercimek köftesi. If you’re not stuffed by now there’s a plethora of brownies, cookies, and cakes to devour before you waddle your way out.

All images courtesy of Colin Craig.

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David Jaques
Dave has been in Istanbul since 2014 by way of Chicago and Oakland, CA. When he isn't working, he's exploring the Country for the best: kebabs, dive bars, or next locations to write about on his blog (amanwithoutacontinent.com). You can usually find him on his couch reading or watching Netlfix, or about town at a basketball game or concert.

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