Tag Archives: fruits and vegetables

Eating Organic in Mexico – An Adventure of a Different Kind

22 Feb

The Tortas are on vacation. Please enjoy a previous post.

A large part of moving to Mexico for me was driven by the memory of roaming local mercados brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables. In 1975, as a college student in Mexico, I gorged on whatever was in season, especially relishing avocados and tropical fruits not found in my native New Jersey.

As with everything inthe world, times have changed, and in 2014, asking a merchant in the Bacalar market where their produce is from often results in a blank stare. For this reason, I have thought often of the organic farmer’s market left behind in Austin, Texas. I willingly paid higher prices, which included the privilege of meeting the farmers who grew and brought their culinary wonders to my neighborhood.

On Saturday, the Tortas were excited to take a road-trip to a local organic farm that we’d heard about. After driving 40 km or about 25 miles, we came to what’s otherwise known as Kilometro Cinco (five).

An easy-to-miss wooden roadside stand fronts an amazing farm owned and operated by a husband-wife team. All work is done manually. There is no roto tiller pulled behind a tractor. The rich earth in this soil poor area is the result of twenty years of composted chicken manure. It is obvious that these folks work hard, love what they do and have a green thumb that I can only dream of. We followed them to their fields and were in awe of the crops that were harvested before our eyes. It doesn’t get any fresher than this. There was eggplant, cabbage, kohlrabi, two kinds of espinaca (spinach), red and green lettuce, arugula, chard, bok choy, basil, Serrano peppers, dandelions and probably more that I’m forgetting. It was a Spanish lesson as well. I will have green smoothies for days. Kilometro Cinco is a treasure and well worth the trip. Our huge basket of veggies, farm eggs and oranges cost about $10US. I’m in heaven and no longer dreaming of farmer’s markets.

Rows of lettuce and peppers.

Rows of lettuce and peppers.

Growing in the jungle.

Growing in the jungle.

image

image

Harvesting as we go.

Harvesting as we go.

Though For The Day

Though For The Day

Trip to the Mercado

24 Mar

I’m especially fond of Mexican mercados. It is one of the things I am moving to Mexico for. Growing up in NJ (the Garden State), I was accustomed to stopping at roadside stands to purchase corn, watermelons and especially those fabulous Jersey tomatoes. Visiting my home state a few years ago, I was amazed to find that there was not a roadside stand to be found. I guess those small farms are long gone. In Texas, I frequent the farmer’s markets looking for that connection to fresh farm-grown food. It’s a special experience for me.

My memory of Mexico in the 70’s was of visiting the mercados, big and small. They were a cross between a farmer’s market and a flea market, made up of temporary stalls, in large open areas or closed off streets. The mercado was usually held once or twice a week depending on the size of the community.

I remember the fruit tasting like nothing I had ever eaten in the US. Whatever was in season was piled high for several weeks, only to be replaced by the next seasonal fruit. I made myself sick on mangos, bananas and avocados.

In Bacalar, I searched eagerly for the mercado. Pineapples and papayas were especially good in December. The market is housed in a permanent building and is open every day. Of course there are also other small stores in town that sell fruits and vegetables and a supply of packaged goods that would rival any 7-11. I look forward to getting to know the vendors and inquiring about the possibility of bulk buying. One thing that did surprise me was finding green grapes from California for sale. The world really is getting smaller.

Mercado 2012

Mercado Bacalar

Mercado

Mandarins & Pineapple

Please share your thoughts or experiences in the comments section.

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