Saturday Market — The Souk

Downtown Plaza in Oued Laou

Downtown Plaza in Oued Laou

The next town beyond Aouchtam is called Oued Laou (Pro: Wed Low) and it means The River Laou. It’s a real town, with streets, shops, many homes and apartments and each Saturday there is an open air market, called a Souk in Arabic.

While I have never been a fan or flea markets or sidewalk sales, this Souk came highly recommended as the best place to buy fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables. The Berbers (one of the tribal people in Morocco) bring their produce down from the hills (usually by donkey or mule) each week. While the men do most of the selling, the women go about doing the marketing. The women wear very fanciful hats and the most colorful striped aprons that were so clean they looked brand new.

Berber Women In Native Attire

Berber Women In Native Attire

The first time I encountered a group of these women, dressed in native attire, I thought I was somewhere in the Andes Mountains of South America. Their faces, their clothes, their whole appearance reminded me of scenes I had seen in documentaries of Peru or Ecuador. I half expected to see llamas and alpacas coming along behind them.

Main Gate into the Souk

Main Gate into the Souk

The Souk was crowded — we had been told to go early but early comes late in our household — and we were soon being swept along with the masses, hardly able to stop and see what was being offered for sale. And what kinds of things were being offered? In a word EVERYTHING. My first purchase was two new head scarves, which I still need to learn to tie properly.

We looked at shoes, household stuff, hanging meat, live chickens and finally we arrived at the vegetable stalls.  It all looked fabulous, so I just began selecting things. Two large cucumbers, six beautiful zucchini, four green peppers and about three pounds of carrots. Three dirham for the entire lot. That’s about 36 cents. I couldn’t believe it! How do they make a living?

At the next stand I chose  a four-pound cauliflower, three pounds of apples and about 10 gorgeous tomatoes. The cauliflower was really expensive, 19 dirham — the farmer was almost apologetic. The whole bill came to 31 dirham, or about $4.

Amazing Food at Amazing Prices

Amazing Food at Amazing Prices

We passed displays of olives in five colors, piled high on silver trays. Our load was getting really

Lettuce Bundled with Grass Strands

Lettuce Bundled with Grass Strands

heavy, so we passed, much to Tomas’s chagrin. We won’t be passing those up next week. I was so shocked  by the prices that I almost forgot one of the main items I had come for — lettuce. Suddenly, there was the lettuce and cilantro grower right in front of me and I purchased two bunches of each. A couple of days later when I went to clean these items for salad, I discovered that the bundles were tied together with strands of grass. No plastic or wire here — only what Mother Nature supplies. I was so touched, I wanted to kiss the Berbers. I know, totally inappropriate. But I did snap this photo.

 

Fish TajineI really liked the little town of Oued Laou. It had a nice feeling about it. We stopped for lunch and had fish Tajine — fish and veggies “baked” in clay pots over a fire. We ate in an enclosed patio, across from the Mediterranean and watched the people on the sidewalk and other diners who braved the breeze to eat at tables with colorful umbrellas closer to the water.

View from the Cafe

View from the Cafe

All this week we’ve been enjoying this vegetable bounty. Everything tastes so good, like I remember from my childhood. I’ve been singing the praises of the Berber people with every meal I prep. We’ll be making  regular trips to the Souk on Saturdays. Bon appetit!

Bread, Dates, Olives - Everything

Bread, Dates, Olives – Everything

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Saturday Market — The Souk

      • i want to correct your information i am from north morocco oud lou not barber they are jbala that mean the people the mountain like tangie tetouan chaouen laarache fnidak their origin come from spain andaloucia

        • Thank you Said — I appreciate your contribution here. A month or so ago I learned about the Amasigh people and that the term Berber is not a name that people like to be called, as it comes from “barbarian.” I have not heard the word “jbala.” That is new to me. So much is new to me here and I very much appreciate the input I receive from local people in assisting me to understand how things “really” are. So apologies to any ones I may have offended from my ignorance. Thank you again for commenting, Alia

  1. For quite some time I have been using a face hydrating product that at it’s base is Moroccan rose oil. I love it! Dry skin and lots of time spent on airplanes go hand in hand. The beautiful desert people of Morocco have many secrets of hydration to share.

    Any people that live so close to the land and have such a sense of community with such a market make the life most American’s live seem so impoverished. -x.M

  2. I think it must be — good ole farm manure. Someone told me the food plants are heavily sprayed with pesticides but if they are tying the bunches with grass, they don’t have money for fancy chemicals, so I think you are absolutely right. That lettuce “bites back” by the way — no roll over and play dead lettuce here. ☺

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s