THE lifeblood of Santa Catalina is, without a doubt, its market.

Second and third generation family businesses at the Santa Catalina Market

Now, nearly 100 years old the Mercat de Santa Catalina is the oldest in Palma.

Founded in 1920, it counts on dozens of stalls selling everything from flowers to wine and cheese to nuts.

But, without a doubt, its strongest selling point is the freshness of its produce, with hundreds of chefs from around the city using its excellent stalls to shop.

“Without the market there is no Santa Catalina. The best people are inside here, every day,” Bernat Contesti, of Contestí Fruits explains.

His family has run their fruit and vegetable business for 70 years and it has been passed down for three generations.

“We are well known for our well selected produce, much of which we grow ourselves locally, such as the strawberries and oranges.”

The market is full of stalls like Barnat’s and in recent years the market has undergone a few makeovers, and there is a clear move towards quality of produce.

“It’s all different now. In fact another world from before,” says Llorens Picornell, owner of Es Banyalbuferi. “It certainly feels very much alive.”

Parts of the building are part of the original structure, while new stalls were added in 1978, and a new roof in 2000.

Owner of Ramon Fruits, Carina Ramon call herself the ‘happiest girl in the world’ because she gets to run the family business that her grandparents started 54 years ago.

“I’m lucky to be here in Santa Catalina, it’s our little SoHo with such a mixture of people,” Carina says.

“A lot of our customers come from the yachts, we carry things they can’t find anywhere else – but we still get all the local ladies, who come in every day for their daily shopping as they have done for decades.”

Open Monday through Saturday, rain or shine the market is bustling with people, from neighbours to tourists picking up the islands best offerings.