The World Wide Guide to Farmers' Markets, Street Markets, Flea Markets, Street Vendors, and the Informal Sector

A GREAT loss...

A great loss, the death of a terrific, immigrant businessman who started as a street vendor...from the Chicago Tribune...

Luis A. Alcala, 1921–2014
Mexican immigrant founded famous Western wear store

By Joan Giangrasse Kates, Special to the Tribune
January 28, 2014

Luis A. Alcala got his start selling clothes and other items from a fold-up table on Maxwell Street, eventually scraping together enough money to open a store on Chicago's Southeast Side that catered to factory workers at a nearby steel plant.

He later moved to the West Town neighborhood, and the store, taken over by his sons, turned its focus to Western wear, a specialty made clear to passers-by by the life-size fiberglass horse outside Alcala's on Chicago Avenue.

Mr. Alcala, 92, died Tuesday, Jan. 21, in his home at Norwood Crossing, a senior living facility in Chicago, of complications related to a stroke he suffered 18 months ago, his family said.

Born in Durango, Mexico, Mr. Alcala immigrated to the United States and worked picking cotton in the South before making his way to Chicago, where he and his wife, Carmen, raised a large family on the Northwest Side. She died in 2009.

Mr. Alcala made his living as a janitor and factory worker before setting up a table on Maxwell Street and hawking everything from men's belts to brooms.

Submitted by Alfonso Morales on Wed, 01/29/2014 - 11:04am.

photos back on the web...

Some great pictures of historic Maxwell Street are again available!

Submitted by Alfonso Morales on Fri, 01/17/2014 - 1:00pm.

Dia De Los Muertos - San Salvador, El Salvador

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.

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Submitted by Matthew Armbrust on Fri, 11/08/2013 - 10:59pm.

Cordoba Region, Buenos Aires, and Mendoza, Argentina

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.

Ecostation's 'Green Machine' at Calabazafest in NYC on 10/27

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.


Ecostation NY

Bushwick Farmers Market


Bushwick Farmers' Market Green Machine Thrilling World Premiere!

Submitted by Matthew Armbrust on Sat, 10/26/2013 - 11:36am.
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