The Farmers Market of India : Sabzi Mandi

Sabzi Mandi is a wholesale vegetable and fruit market in India.

As a little kid, I dreaded going to a local Sabzi Mandi. Nonetheless, my mother more than often used to take me along with her because I was little and could not be left at home alone. She used to bribe me with chocolates, candies and other goodies so that I don’t act too pricey and reluctant. The place used to be tacky and stinky, over loaded with not just humans but dogs, buffaloes, cows, pigs too. And if all that wasn’t enough, there used to be trash , cow dung , mud ponds and all that you can imagine related to that. With so many people rubbing against your shoulder, pushing you in all possible directions without being apologetic, my mom used to hold my hands firmly throughout her grocery shopping spree, lest I go missing. It used to be suffocating and total hotch potch. All in all, a nightmare to me as a child, more than having to go to school.

Sabzi Mandi-vendors selling vegetables
But then, I GREW UP !!! Good sense prevailed as I grew older and wiser and perceptions changed. I grew up to realize that cooking was one of my passions just like my mom. And a local sabzi mandi gives me plenty of raw material to satisfy my creative surges. In fact wide variety of fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits available  there influence and inspire me to hone my culinary skills that the grocery store would never do.

Local Sabzi mandi hasn’t much changed even today, but what changed is the way I view it now. Same tacky, stinky place looks like a heaven on earth to me now. I now find peace in that pandemonium. Erstwhile stress giver has now become a stress-buster. A visit to local sabzi mandi is one of the most therapeutic experience for me today. I am unmindful of the physical presence of humans, dogs, cows etc and that awful smell now takes a backseat to the aroma of fresh vegetables and fruits. Sellers are set up with their canopies spread over a huge ground. Heaps of fresh vegetable produce straight from the farms and colorful display of just harvested juicy fruits is quite a sight to behold. Everyone is swaying , mingling with new people, bargaining hard. Kids are running helter skelter with balloons. There are rides for kids, balloon sellers, ice cream sellers and some other snack sellers at all the corners. The festive spirit  is actually quite contagious and pleases your senses.

The biggest challenge here however is not to overbuy. Fresh produce at lot cheaper prices than super market actually makes you want to splurge. You definitely want to buy in bulk because idea is to have grocery enough for at least a week. Most sabzi mandi’s are set up once in a week , and usually it’s a Sunday.

Having invested many years buying grocery from a local sabzi mandi in India, I’ve reaped a little wisdom and want to share a few tips with you all that can enhance your shopping experience.

1)     Carry Cash and preferably lots of change. If you are a only Credit card person, this place isn’t for you.

2)     Carry your own bag, a big spacious one. It makes your work a lot easier.

3)     Timings are important. Get in there early if you don’t want to compromise on quality and are ready to pay relatively higher prices. Get in there late if you want stuff at lower prices and can compromise on quality. Most vendors give away their left over produce at throw away prices when the market is nearing closure.

4)     Don’t buy until you’ve walked the entire market to see what’s there. That ways you can compare the prices. Bargain anyways. It also makes sense to build  a rapport  with a certain vendor so that he always gives you some concession for being a loyal customer. Most sellers are the same every week.

5)     Looks are deceptive. Insist on checking out the vegetables and fruits yourself before buying to know if they are really fresh and ripe. A world famous Chef once said “ I Let the vegetables talk to me, not the other way around. They  say “ Pick Me “. For all you shoppers out there, isn’t that a wonderful strategy to incorporate ?

6)     If that’s not enough, unlike supermarket, sellers here even allow you to taste their goods before buying.

I am sure, if you are free-spirited and follow these simple tips, your grocery shopping experience in a local Indian sabzi mandi is going to be an uplifting one.

Sabzi Mandi pictures

Author: Richa Arora


  1. Raj Pandey says:

    i have lout of varity of frouts like that peach kubani pulam naspati & outher i want search sale market pless send me the right market .

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