Last Saturday on my way back from a beautiful botanical garden in San Salvador, El Salvador, I came upon a street lined with a variety of vendors leading up to a cemetery where hundreds of people paid their respects to deceased loved ones on Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The ceremonial days, which originated in Mexico dating back to the Aztecs, have spread throughout Latin America with many variations and customs of the celebration depending on the country. Surviving loved ones visit the graves of their departed friends and family to bring gifts and offerings such as flowers, food, and favorite objects amongst others. Various vendors sold flowers, both real and synthetic, jewelry, clothing, art, various foods including pupusas, a cheese and bean filled tortilla-like snack topped with cabbage and hot sauce, grilled corn, and others like fried plantain chips and grilled chicken plates with beans and rice.
Submitted by Matthew Armbrust on Fri, 11/08/2013 - 10:59pm.
As part of my travels and work through Latin America, I had the opportunity to spend three weeks in Argentina, one in the dairy and grain producing region near Cordoba, another in the metropolitan capital of Buenos Aires, and the last in the breathtaking wine producing capital of Mendoza. All three places and their respective markets and vendors were a contrast of lifestyles and attitudes, while several things very Argentinian remained constant: pastured beef, hand made pasta shops, handmade pizzas, bakeries, mate tea and gourds, and artisanal wines, namely the regional specialties from Mendoza, Malbec and Torrontes.
Submitted by Matthew Armbrust on Thu, 10/31/2013 - 11:07am.
Just wanted to pass this along to any and all New York market enthusiasts and supporters of local food educational organizations looking for something fun to do this Sunday. Fellow UC-Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) alum and friend Maggie Cheney is Director of Farms and Education at Ecostation NY in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, where they do an amazing amount of youth and community development activities centered on local foods from the Bushwick Campus Farm, Bushwick Community Farmers Market, rooftop farming, and farming apprenticeships amongst much much more. Their fourth annual Calabazafest is highlighted by the launch of their mobile ecologically sound produce market, the 'Green Machine'. See more details on the Calabazafest, Bushwick Farmers Market, and Ecostation NY website. I'm currently on the road in Granada, Nicaragua about to visit with some local producers and ranchers, and will catch up my market blogs on Lima, Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Santiago, and Costa Rica in the next few days.
Bushwick Farmers Market
¡CALABAZAFEST! ARRIVES SUNDAY
Bushwick Farmers' Market Green Machine Thrilling World Premiere!
Submitted by Matthew Armbrust on Sat, 10/26/2013 - 11:36am.
I had a brief opportunity to visit a sprawling yet incredible Belén Market with my Iranian friend after a short trip to the jungle in the Peruvian Amazon in Iquitos, Peru. The sixth largest city in Peru, located on the intersection of the Amazon, Nanay, and Itaya Rivers, Iquitos is a jungle hub located in a bastion of ecological diversity in the nearby dense rainforest. The Belén Market, covering multiple city blocks, has a reputation as one of the largest and most diverse markets in Latin America, along with the Saturday Otavalo Market in Otavalo, Ecuador and others in Bolivia and Peru. Before I explain more about my experience in the market, Peru is amazing market-wise and agriculturally, with over 4000 varieties of potatoes and a ridiculous amount of diverse products ranging from table grapes and high grade organic coffee to cotton, alpaca, sheep, and vicuna wool for textiles, amongst many others. Local markets are as much a part of Peruvian culture like fútbol (soccer), pisco sours (a grape brandy cocktail) and ceviche (a citrus cooked seafood medley). Another point of interest for me in Peru is the 10-year moratorium signed into law in 2011 on transgenic/Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) of any kind in Peru and also one of the lowest agricultural subsidy rates in the world, comparable to New Zealand.
Submitted by Matthew Armbrust on Wed, 10/16/2013 - 10:46am.
A market is a market is a market need not be so. Open air markets can take every shape and size. Any two markets can serve very different purposes. I visited Krackow, Poland this summer, home to several open air markets. I saw two. The most famous, the Main Market Square, or Rynek Glowny, is breathtakingly large. At nearly 10 acres, it is said to be one of the largest medieval squares in Europe. The Market Square is not just vending, it is also outdoor dining, outdoor performance stage, and plenty of wide open space. The variety of uses and the historic architecture attract a number of visitors, and accordingly the vending tilts toward snacks, beer, and souveniers. I was happy to sample them all, take a seat, and watch the square. It was full of life.
Just a mile or two away lies a market, though no less lively, that has a completely different personality. Hala Targowa is where locals appear to do their daily or weekly shopping. Vendors offer produce, prepared food, used books, new and used clothing, and so on. It’s a flea-market-farmer’s-market-outdoor-food-court mash-up. Fresh raspberries were everywhere in sight and piled high. I thought I was Alice in Raspberry Land.
Submitted by Gregg Kettles on Tue, 10/15/2013 - 11:21pm.