portugal shopping Torres Novas

Corona virus and cabbage in Portugal


Well, we knew it was coming, we have heard about it and to be honest, we really never really believed it.

There was so much hype, there was so much misinformation, (this has now changed and for the most up to date info look at safe communities) but for the first time we really saw the effect of Coronavirus on our lives, and the thing that hit home the most was cabbages!

Though, we were not really sure it was cabbages we were buying from the market until I checked with the gardening Facebook pages.

Portugal has been in shut down since the 12thMarch, but as we live in a small rural village, there has not really been much impact on our lives so far.

We knew there would be a big impact at some point, so we decided we would prioritise the garden, there are fruit trees we need and vegetables we want to grow.

Our local market, has so much fruit and veg for sale we decided to visit whilst it was still open. (17thmarch)

This was our first shock, the market was almost empty, we went to the vegetable truck and saw people stood around, this is when we realised that this was actually a queue, everybody was very polite and kept a good distance between each other.

As we waited our turn, I checked what was available and what I recognised, as I was served, I asked for what I wanted and then just bought some of the other vegetables, my Portuguese failed me at this point, but we figured, they are green, they are vegetables, of course we will like them.

Once we had bags of vegetables to plant, I decided to go and buy some ready to eat vegetables, but we were unable to get in to the market stalls, there was police tape stopping you from entering, once I found the entrance, I realised the police were actually there and on duty, it was a case of 1 in and 1 out, this was our next major shock, the markets actually had police on duty. This is not something that I had ever expected to see and to be honest it really took me by surprise, yes I knew it was coming, but still, police on guard at an open air market, it felt like we were in some strange science fiction movie.


Torres Novas Market, at the beginning of the Coronavirus shut down

We decided not to bother as we didn’t need that much.

So we left with bags of plants and trees for the garden and realised I am finally going to be Felicity Kendal, though this time from necessity, rather than a rose tinted view of life. We had always wanted to try to be as self sufficient as possible, we just never realised it was no longer going to be a Mary Poppins style of of life, it may actually become a way of life for so many of us, if things get worse.

It was also at this point that I realised I had actually managed to kill a plastic potted palm tree, so if you could send some good gardening vibes, they will be appreciated.

After the market, we hit the supermarket to do a full shop, not a panic buy, but what we would normally buy on a weekly shop, but this time we wanted enough to last nearer a fortnight, rather than a week so we would not need to go out again.

We joined the queue outside the supermarket and as so many people left, the security guard in gloves and face mask let the same amount of people in.

Once in the shop, the shelves were full, there was even toilet roll on special offer!!!!!

We did our shop and went to the till, this was actually the quickest and easiest shop we have ever done, there were no queues at the till and very few people in the supermarket.

Again, it was quite surreal, to be in a shop the size of a football pitch and being able to wander around with so few people in there.

No panic buying here

It was a very quiet drive home, as I said this is the first time, Coronavirus has really hit home, it is now affecting us, and we are fit and healthy, we just hope every body else is OK.

It also didn’t help that we are in a tiny car, you may be wondering what happened to the trusty Volvo, the wonderful Volvo that has moved with us to France and Spain and Portugal. The trusty Volvo that has been as much a part of our story as John and I, well the trusty Volvo may now be no more, as we were involved in a crash last week, but that is for another post! (we were both OK, just shaken and upset)

We hope you all stay safe where ever you are in the world, and above all else please look after the more vulnerable around you.


We are Jenny and John, currently living in Portugal and renovating an old manor house, which should be finished soon and open for holiday lets. We also manage a website for accommodation and information on Portugal at portugalholidays4u.com

6 comments on “Corona virus and cabbage in Portugal

  1. We are just at the beginning of what seems like a very relaxed lockdown here in the UK compared to yours.

    Scary about the accident – last thing you needed!


    • yes it was, but luckily we are both well, yes the UK lockdown seems very relaxed and quite confusing. We still have family in the UK and hope things there get alittle more sorted soon, Take care and stay safe


  2. Hello, hope to find you both well. What happened to you? Are you ok after the accident? I was hoping for some more good news and not these kind of accidents. Please keep us posted. And i’m also looking for new pics 🙂 . Best regards.


  3. Jacqueline Wolstencroft

    It is strange entering a supermarket one in & one out, but great to do your shopping without the usual amount of people, admittedly I’d change everything in a flash to go back to how we were. You’ve got the perfect opportunity to create some great recipes with your vegetables. Get some lentils, lentils, potatoes, onions and veg stock can go along way with herbs from your garden. Glad your both ok after the accident!


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