Agriculture is one of the important sectors of Cyprus economy, which is not surprising, as the climate here is most favourable. The country produces a huge variety of fruits and vegetables, which form the basis of the local residents’ diet and are also exported abroad. Farming in Cyprus is done not only by large agricultural companies, but also by private entrepreneurs.
What do farmers grow in Cyprus?
Agriculture in Cyprus is very diverse and is an important segment in the country's economy: on average, it constitutes about 18% of gross income. Small private farmers also play an important role in it, growing vegetables and fruits, and raising animals not only for their own needs, but also for sale. Vegetables and fruits in Cyprus are equally abundant all year round, so farmers always have work to do.
Farming on the island is quite challenging, as a lot of land is located in mountainous Cyprus, which is hard for mechanical soil cultivation. Another problem is the lack of water, which is why farmers have to work out the irrigation of their plots.
Then comes the problem of selling the products, as each famer has to think of the ways to sell his harvest to local grocery stores or take it to one of the farmers' markets in Cyprus.
But, despite these difficulties, Cyprus actively invests in the production of:
● cereals, among which wheat, barley and oats are the most popular; small farms independently produce flour, used for baking and selling homemade bread and confectionery;
● legumes, which form an important part of the Cypriot diet;
● melons and watermelons, growing in the Mesaoria plain and the lands around the tourist Pafos, where real estate is popular with foreign investors;
● grapes – there is a huge number of vineyards on the island and wine making is one of the oldest and most important productions in Cyprus;
● citrus fruits, with the orchards located mostly near the coast and in villages nearby;
● carob with its amazing taste and flavour;
● almonds and pomegranates;
● potatoes and carrots.
Farming in Cyprus includes cultivation of olive trees as well as the production of homemade olive oil in simple mechanical oil mills. Although farmed olive oil is not exported, tourists like to buy this especially flavoursome fresh homemade oil. Small-scale grown olives are often bought up by large enterprises.
A separate category of farming in Cyprus is constituted by animal industry and the production of animal related products. Cypriot farmers actively breed:
The goat and sheep milk is used for making delicious local cheeses, like halloumi, feta or anari.
In the coastal regions, the locals are also active in fishing.
Where and when you can find Cyprus Farmers Markets?
In every major city there are large farmers' markets organized about twice a week. In Cyprus it is normal practice to place them in large parking lots. Such markets open very early in the morning morning (from about 5 am) and close by lunchtime.
When going to the farmers' markets in Cyprus, it is important to remember two rules:
1. You need to take cash, since farmers do not accept cards.
2. Before buying something, ask the seller in detail where the vegetables were grown or how exactly the cheese was produced. Many entrepreneurs use the farmers' markets in Cyprus to resell imported products.
In large cities like Nicosia and Limassol there are several farmers' markets, which you can visit on different days of the week:
● Agios Antonios indoor farmers market is open in Nicosia from Monday to Saturday. In addition to seasonal fruits and vegetables, you can always buy fresh fish and meat, traditional Cypriot meat products, cheeses, homemade bread and flowers.
● The Strovolos Market in Nicosia is open only on Fridays. Here you can buy inexpensive fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as meat delicacies.
● On Wednesdays and Saturdays Nicosia's largest farmers' market, Oxi Square Market, offers rare fruits and local cuisine.
● In Limassol, the Organic Farmers' Market is open on Saturdays. Only organic products are sold here and, among other things, you can find rabbit meat and rare cheeses that are hard to find in Cyprus.
● The Limassol Municipal Market indoor market operates in Limassol from Monday to Saturday. It is famous not only for its huge selection of vegetables and fruits, but also for sweets and Cypriot souvenirs.
● On Saturdays, there is a Village Market in Limassol where one can buy fresh village chicken.
Farmers' markets in Cyprus offer such an abundance of goodies that it is just impossible to list them all. Come and see it for yourself!