Friday, March 29, 2013

Market Trip -- Fruits and Vegetables

We saw lots of fruits and vegetables on our little market trip as well.  In fact, we started down at the Indigenous market.

Before we even got to the market there were folks setting up their wares on the sidewalk.  In the foreground are bags of strawberries.  I didn't get a chance to ask how much hers were but they are generally $2 (for a kilo--2.2 pounds) in the market so I'm going to guess hers might be as low as $1.50.

Here we are at the Indigenous market.  This is set up just once a week and it's sponsored by an indigenous people's organization.  The claim is that everything here is organic.  It is, in the sense that all fruits and vegetables are organic in nature, not in lack of chemicals.  There is a certification process here for things grown organically but it would be almost impossible for the indigenous small holders to get that since they've used chemicals in their soil for so many years.

Here's the pile of oca I got for 50 cents.  There was so much of it that I split it with a friend of mine.
Potatoes, potatoes, and more potatoes.  There are different varieties of potatoes for different times of the year but there are literally thousands of varieties just in the upper Andes region.  Locally there are hundreds varieties.  The most important question to be able to ask farmers is whether they are "puré o en salada." Are they for mashing (mealy) or for salads (waxy)?  Beyond that, it's a matter of what you happen to personally like.  There are some little yellow waxy ones I really like.  They remind me a little of Yukon Golds but they're more flavorful.

On our way to the "formal" market, we saw a fellow selling alfalfa outside, near the entrance.  It's used for feeding guinea pigs and rabbits among other things.

"The Spice Guy" has a stall just inside the building and he has lots of fun things in addition to the sices.  He makes his own peanut butter which is really very lovely.  He also sells Palo Santo.  Literally this means holy stick.  It's wood that is used for helping discourage flies.  I'm going to do a little post on it one day soon.

I love the stalls here.  This is pretty much the whole stall and she has things stacked up like you wouldn't believe. The cabbages on top, while they look pretty big to us, are average sized here.  The little flowers are camomile.  It's used a great deal.  From here I see purple cabbage, cilantro, radishes, broccoli, peppers, limes, garlic, tree tomatoes (those are at the very bottom of the picture and are orange-y red), and cucumbers.  There are a few other things I can't identify from the photo but there's a lot.

Below the cucumbers she has some of the thinnest carrots I've seen at the market, yuca, some regular tomatoes off to the left, and little bags of almost purple things that look like miniature potatoes--they aren't.  They are a starchy vegetable that is in the same family as okra.  They have that same slimey quality.  Dan is going to do a little experimenting to see if they would be a good substitute for okra in gumbo.  I'll be anxious to hear how that turns out.

Unfortunately I was having a few back issues and couldn't stay for the whole tour.  Darn.  I'll be taking it again, though, and will share more information as I get it.  I love the market.

Just because I don't have more, here's a photo I took the other day:
Now THIS is a large cabbage.  Poor little girl was evicted from her stroller so grandma could cart the cabbage home.  Here, even the tough outside leaves are used.  They are cleaned and trimmed of bug holes and then cut up to use as a green in soup.  I suspect it's cooked a very long time.  Of course anything that really won't go in the soup will be used either for soup stock or to feed someone's pigs.  I almost never take any food out to be picked up by the garbage truck on the days they pick up the organic trash.  I know where to hang it on a hook where a woman (or, more likely, her kids) come to collect it several times a day and feed it to her pigs.


  1. Lovely pictures of food that looks great!

  2. Are all those amazing fresh veggies available all year long?