Before we get started on this week’s amazing farmers market update from Puerto Rico, I want to announce that I’m going to start offering farmers market tours/classes for small groups in San Francisco. I hope you can join us!
Adriana Angelet is a food lover and blogger from Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. She cooks and shares balcony gardening duties with her husband, Eduardo, and their recao eating kitten Gatamiaux. Visit her beautiful blog Great Food 360.
Farmers Market Update: Puerto Rico
by Adriana Angelet
I am very excited to share today some of our finds from the Cooperativa Organica Madre Tierra’s bi-monthly farmer’s market. The farmers set up their stands at the Placita Roosevelt, a fifteen-minute drive from the Old San Juan area, on the first and third Sundays of every month. The market operates year-round; this is definitely one of the blessings of our tropical weather! The farmers’ coop that organizes the market recently celebrated its tenth anniversary.
Our first stop was Nelson’s table, where we purchased our regular greens (curly leaf and red leaf lettuces, arugula, spinach, and pac choi), which are available year-round.
His stand is usually one of the most diverse in terms of its offerings: he had eggplant, yucca and ñame (root vegetables), plantains, cucumbers, chayote (mirlinton), and sweet little red peppers known as ajicitos. Ajicitos are usually used in sauces, chopped into savory dishes, and blended into sofrito, the base for most Puerto Rican dishes.
We moved on to the Desde Mi Huerto (“From My Farm”) table to check out Raul’s collection of potted vegetable plants and herbs. I really like that they not only sell from their harvest, but foster growing your own at home. I make sure to stop by whenever I have questions on how to tend our balcony garden. We have also purchased some vegetable compost from them to make sure our garden thrives.
In my previous visit, I purchased some honey from Apiarios El Pancho. Their apiary is located only a couple of miles from our house. In addition to honey, they make honey “butter” – a creamy confection made entirely of honey. I think I might have to get some next time. It would make a great spread on tart fruit slices or crackers.
Since we arrived earlier than some of the farmers, we took a break to enjoy some homemade probiotic yogurt with granola and molasses from Naturalandia and perk up with cortaditos – espressos “cut” with a little half-and-half – from Finca Vista Hermosa (“Beautiful View”). From a bench we watched as the fresh fruit, root vegetables, and vegetables kept arriving and tweaked our shopping list.
Although I’m not a fan, a lot of people like pomarrosas, also known as Malay Apples. They can be ground and juiced or cooked into compotes or jams. They are pretty to look at! From what I’ve read, the tree and flowers are just as beautiful.
This is the first time I’ve seen cacao pods in the market. I bought two, although I have no idea what to do with them (after opening the pod and toasting the seeds). It was only two for a dollar! If I can get two candies out of them, the experiment would be worth it.
We picked up two whole wheat baguettes from Stephanie at the Peace n’Loaf stand. Besides baking artisanal breads, she is part owner of the first vegetarian pizzeria in Puerto Rico. I know we should eat bread in moderation (Stephanie herself couldn’t stress it enough), but one of the loaves was gone in less than two days.
On the Siembra Tres Vidas (“Plant Three Lives”) tent, I went straight for the green beans. I participated in their CSA last summer, and got hooked on them. The green onions also looked too good to pass up. I used one right after I got home to make a quick dip to take to my family’s Father’s Day luncheon.
On our way out, we couldn’t help but notice these baby eggplants on the back of a pick-up truck. Although my husband is not a fan, we couldn’t just take pictures of them – we bought pound. It will likely turn into baba ganoush.
- Arugula (Nelson’s)
- Red and green curly leaf lettuces (Nelson’s)
- Spinach (Nelson’s)
- Pac Choi (Nelson’s)
- Whole wheat baguettes (Peace N’Loaf)
- Baby eggplant
- Cocoa pods
- Green beans (Siembra Tres Vidas)
- Green onions (Siembra Tres Vidas)
If you’d like to share your local farmers market with Summer Tomato readers, we’d love to have you! Here are the guidelines.