There are 16 greengrocers busting a gut to make a living in Mercat de l’Oliver, some of them grow their own produce, others offer a wide range of Majorcan fruit and vegetables and two of them specialise in exotic fruit from far flung countries.
Ismael Cuenca’s fruit shop has been running for around 45 years and sells exotic fruit and vegetables, a wide range of mushrooms, truffles and sprouts.
“My parents were the first to bring avocado or custard apple to the Island,” states María José Cuenca. “Every time we have more competition, we concentrate on quality, that is our base. Customers come here to buy exotic fruits like tamarinds, from Thailand or the Philippines, physalis peruviana from Colombia, kumquats, passion fruit, from Colombia or Costa Rica, and lychees from southern China.
The Montiel fruit shop also specialises in exotic fruits and usually closes a little later than the other shops.
“This type of product is very popular with our customers from South America who use them a lot in their diet and without this type clientele, it wouldn’t be profitable,” explained Cristina Pozo, who’s in charge of the Montiel greengrocers.
Some of the fruits sold at Mercat de l’Olivar are hard to find and they usually cost more other, more common products. Tamarinds are priced at between 7.90 and 13.50 euros per kilo; the physalis goes for 2.50 euros for a 100gm box, kumquats sell for around 9 euros per kilo, passion fruit costs 12-14 euros per kilo, and lychees for up to 6.75 euros a kilo.
Some exotic fruits are also really good for your health because they contain beneficial properties.
Tamarinds are high in sugar, starch, cellulose, and acids and are chock full of Vitamin A, B and C and the leaves were once used to combat respiratory disorders.
Physalis, which is also known as cape gooseberry in Colombia, is a fleshy, sweet and slightly acidic berry. It’s low in calories and high in antioxidants, phosphorus, iron, protein and fiber.
Passion fruit is available all year round, but some specialists claim they're best in winter. Rich in minerals such as potassium, phosphorus and magnesium, they're low in fat and high in fiber, with laxative effects.
Whether it's local products, exotic fruits or vegetables that you’re looking for Mercat de l'Olivar is a fantastic place to visit, the quality is fantastic and there’s a superb wet fish area, a few bars selling tapas and tons of stalls to explore.