Food Shopping in Rome and the Km 0 Phenomenon

Written by Katie Parla on February 28, 2011

A few years back the phrase “km 0” started to be kicked around in Italian foodie circles. This abbreviation for “kilometro zero” signifies local, low impact primary ingredients, including meats, cheeses, grains, honeys, and has become the ubiquitous buzzword of the late blooming locavore movement in Italy. In spite of the growing interest in local products, there are relatively few places where you can buy them directly from the cultivator or producer. Many of Rome’s market stalls are not operated by farmers (look for produzione propria to determine which ones are) , and less and less of the city’s market produce is indeed local. So for farm direct purchases, we must rely primarily on the weekend farmer’s markets. What follows is a round-up of a few of my favorites.

Roma Farmer’s Market
The Roma Farmer’s Market opened in December 2008 in the southwestern part of the old slaughterhouse and is open Saturdays (9-6) and Sundays (9-2). Ivan Il Re del Pane has a stall selling Lariano bread and other baked goods from its shop in nearby Artena. L’Oasi Biologica Di Silva sells organic produce. Antico Casale Palmieri sells cold pressed olive oil. At Azienda Agricola F.lli Nesta, the Nesta brothers sell their homemade porchetta and hand cut prosciutto. Their stall proudly displays pictures of the men with their animals on the farm. The Bionutrirsi stall sells locally produced organic chocolates.

Mercato di Campagna Amica del Circo Massimo
Upriver and a short distance from the Circus Maximus, an old fish market was turned into a successful weekend farmer’s market under the sponsorship of the Coldiretti and Campagna Amica organizations. The Mercato di Campanga Amica del Circo Massimo opened in September 2009 and it is by far the most popular of the farmer’s markets in town. Check out this post by Eleonora of Aglio Olio e Peperoncino for a complete list of Campagna Amica and other farmer’s markets.

Citta’ dell’Altra Economia
The Citta’ dell’Altra Economia was inaugurated in the converted ruins of Testaccio’s old slaughterhouse in September 2007. The 3500 square meter area hosts an organic food shop, bar, and restaurant from Tuesday-Sunday. Since 2009, the outdoor space preceding the main building has hosted a large organic food and fair trade market (usually) the last Sunday of each month; during the month of March the market will be held every Sunday. (Check the website for future schedules.) While the Sunday market is well attended, the Citta’ dell’Altra Economia (Tuesday-Saturday) is struggling to remain open. Perhaps Rome is not as attracted to the organic “bio” label as it is to the local “km 0” one. Just a theory.

Mercato Contadino Tiburtino
The Mercato Contadino Tiburtino was established in October 2009. It is open every Saturday from 8am-1:30pm. On February 12, they moved from their original location on the Via Tiburtina to the Parco della Cacciarella (Via del Casale Bruciato 11). You can find out more about the market and their events on their Facebook page.

Other spots in Rome where you can buy or taste local products from Rome/Lazio include Palatium (Via Frattina 94) and Enoteca Provincia Romana (Largo del Foro Traiano 84), both government sponsored wine bars serving great food. Urbana 47 (Via Urbana 47) also serves food made with ingredients from Lazio. It’s not always amazing but it’s good enough and the wine list is all local. Domus Birrae (Via Cavour 87) sells bottled beer and Open Baladin (Via degli Specchi) serves local beers on tap and in bottles. For (mostly) Lazio produced cheese, cured meats, honey, oil, and liquors, check out DOL (Via Panaroli 6). Checchini (Via Merulana 87), a shop specializing in pork products, also makes their own coppiette, salame corallina, prosciutto di montagna and paesanella al finocchio selvatico and for locally reared lambs, visit Angelo Feroci (Via della Maddalena 15). Antica Macelleria Annibale (Via dei Ripetta 236) and Bottega Liberati (Stilicone 278/282) sell San Bartolomeo‘s free range organic poultry.

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