La vendeja. RIALIA. Industria Museoa-Museo de la Industria

The ‘vendeja’

Focusing on local produce, food miles and sustainability is not a new thing, it has been happening for centuries on market days like Thursdays and Saturdays in Portugalete, for example. Originally this market used to take place on the street Calle del Medio, but since 1718 it takes place in Solar square.

Vendeja is the Spanish name used to refer the activity of public selling vegetables that the villagers, female villagers to be precise, bring in big baskets to the market square in order to sell. While this activity was not recorded as a “job” as such we have to bear in mind that the act of commercialising farm produce brought income to the families’ economy. The female villagers were the ones in charge of farming the land, selecting the crops, and carrying and selling the farm produce in the local markets.

They would wake up early and walk, ride on mules or, from the XIX century even take the train or tram in order to get to the city, spread their produce on the tables, sit on the floor and sell. Sometimes they had to bargain too, that is why they would also call the “regateras” (“bargainers”).

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