Category Archives: Markets Around the World

Al que madruga Dios le ayuda en la Central de Abastos de Bucaramanga – Rise and shine at the Central Food Market in Bucaramanga

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Aunque a veces cuesta madrugar, siempre he sentido que comenzar el día temprano me brinda cierta satisfacción.  Ver como la gente va llenando las calles, como los negocios van abriendo sus puertas y como la vida cotidiana va comenzando, son uno de mis placeres favoritos.   La reciente visita a la Central de Abastos de Bucaramanga (Colombia), Centroabastos, fue una experiencia inolvidable.  Fue muy gratificante ver como los agricultores, comerciantes, coteros, y un sinfín de emprendedores se reúnen fielmente en esta plaza para que los santandereanos podamos disfrutar de los alimentos exquisitos y frescos que caracterizan a  la región.

La rutina diaria en Centro Abastos comienza temprano.   Las puertas abren a las 3am y las frutas y las verduras no se hacen esperar.  Tampoco se hace esperar el frenesí de la gente…descargan bultos por un lado, regatean por el otro, hacen cuentas, cierran negocios, gozan entre ellos, y sudan hasta la última gota haciendo lo que les apasiona.  Y no solo se trabaja en esta plaza…hay tiempo para un tinto, una arepa, el caldo de costilla y hasta para una que otra copa de aguardiente que calme el frío mañanero.  En un abrir y cerrar de ojos van desapareciendo kilos y  kilos de alimentos y van desfilando cualquier cantidad de camiones rebosados de carga.  No faltan tampoco los famosísimos Renault antiguos que bien saben aprovechar los colombianos.  Como pude descubrir…es un sitio mágico.

Tal y como está organizado Centro Abastos, no lo recomendaría como un sitio turístico necesariamente.  No tiene la infraestructura necesaria para albergar turistas cómodamente y siendo justos, ese no es el objetivo actual de este lugar.   De todas formas, es un lugar abierto al público en general y aunque no sea un punto de interés turístico, recomiendo está experiencia a todos los que de alguna u otra forma están interesados en el campo, en la agricultura, en consumir productos locales y en apoyar el campo Colombiano.  Y por que no?…podemos pensar a futuro y que lugares como este y como las plaza de mercado que abundan en Colombia, se conviertan en sitios que los turistas quieran dejar de visitar.

Les comparto algunas fotos de esta experiencia y de la gente de la cual tenemos que estar muy orgullosos en Colombia.

Para mas información acerca de Centroabastos, favor visitar:

http://www.centroabastos.com/web/

________________________________________________________________________

Although sometimes is hard to wake up before the sun rises, I’ve always felt that starting the day early is very satisfying.  Watching as people fill the streets, businesses open up and daily life unfolds, are some of my favorite pleasures. The recent visit to the Distribution Centre of Bucaramanga (Colombia), Centroabastos, was an unforgettable experience. It was very gratifying to see how farmers, traders, “coteros”, and countless entrepreneurs faithfully gather in this food market so that ‘santandereanos’ can enjoy the delicious and fresh produce  typical of the region.

The daily routine starts early at Centroabastos. Doors open at 3am as the fruits and vegetables do not wait.  Neither does the frenzy of people …unloading crates on one side, haggling on the other, adding the numbers, closing deals, having fun with each other, and sweating till the last drop doing what they love.   And is not all work and no fun in this place… there’s time for a tinto (sweeten black coffee), an arepa, rib stew and even an occasional glass of “aguardiente” to calm the morning chill. In a blink of an eye, pound after pound of produce  disappear and the parade of overloaded trucks begins.  You can I also catch some of the antique Renault cars famously used by many farmers in Colombia.  As I found out…this is a magical place.

As Centroabastos is organized, I don’t necessarily recommend it as a tourist attraction. It does not have the appropriate infrastructure to comfortably accommodate tourists and to be fair, that is not the purpose of this place.  Nevertheless, it is open to the general public and although it is not a common point of interest, I recommend the experience to all those who in some way or another are interested in farming, in agriculture, in consuming  locally and supporting the Colombian countryside.  And why not? … We can think forward and imagine markets like this becoming places that tourists won’t want to miss.

Here are some photos of this experience and of the people of which we should be proud of in Colombia.

For more information on Centroabastos please visit:

http://www.centroabastos.com/web/

A Classic Gem Montreal Style

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The search for the best and most authentic farmers’ markets took me recently to Montreal’s iconic Marché Jean Talon.

Having been to Montreal several times in the past, I don’t understand how I’ve never included this gem on my “to-see” list while in town.  It is by far one of the best markets I have visited recently and from now on, it will be a the top of my list of things to do when visiting Québec.

The atmosphere at Jean Talon is colourful and very lively.  The beautiful food displays all around, entice the visitors to try everything, and try they do!  The “GOUTEZ-Y” signs invite you to try samples of the fresh fruits and vegetables…THIS IS HEAVEN!  Bright tomatoes, juicy pineapples, tasty cucumbers, crispy brussel sprouts, you name it and they have it!  A must while at Marché Jean Talon is definitely Aqua Mare.  The oysters, which are chuckled right in front of you and served on a wooden box, are to die for!  Also try the bhajis, which although not the classic ones, they are delicious.  And don’t leave the market without getting a pint or two of Québec’s Maple Syrup…it is worth every penny!

The wonderful food is complimented by the merchant’s friendly attitude.  Always with a smile on their face, they make the experience at Jean Talon an unforgettable one.  Drop-by Aqua Mare and say hello to the very funny and charismatic fish munger…yes, the one playing with the fish!

Jean Talon…á la prochaine!

Finds at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market

Recently, my quest to visit as many farmers market as possible this year, took me to the historic Hamilton Farmers Market (HFM).  Lately, I have been curious about what makes “Steeltown” tick, and being only about a half hour drive away, it seem only fitting to pay a visit to this popular community gathering.  Although, the HFM is missing the quaint and country-style character unlike other markets I’ve visited, I found a very special community feeling and a warm atmosphere in this market.

The vendors at the market were very friendly and the product offerings were culturally diversed.    Two vendors that stood out the most on this visit and for which I will definitely to go back are Vinnie’s Fresh Pasta Factory and Odessy Olive Oils and Vinegar (http://www.odessyoliveoilsandvinegars.com/index.html).  Vinnie’s fresh pasta is a mouth-watering treat (spinach-red pepper fetuccini) for a very reasonable price of $4 per lb; not only is it made fresh right in front of your eyes, but it is also made with a smile.   At Odessy you will find a wide variety of organic olive oils and vinegars (a yummy sicilian lemon balsamic) and the expertise and great service of Robert Lalla.

Farmers market are all about the people that gather every week to showcase their goods and about finding those special treats that give visitors joy.  Based on these two factors, the Hamilton Farmers Market is worth the drive  and a visit!

Market Saturdays

 

Saturday has arrived again and with it a new chance to visit one of my new favourite places, the farmer’s market!  Although I have been visiting these markets for a while,  only until recently have I started to fully appreciate the beauty of the community gathering, the freshness of the produce, and the excitement of indulging on a new treat never tasted before.  I recall how much of a hassle it was, as a kid in Colombia, having to stop playing with friends to accompany my grandmother to the market…fortunately I have grown up!

Today I would like to share with you a small collection of photos from some of the recent farmer’s market that have caught my attention:  The “Mercado Municipao” in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with its electric atmosphere and filled with perfectly displayed product.  The Farmer’s Market at Union Square, being an oasis of freshness in the middle of bustling Manhattan.  And, the more quaint and historic St. Jacob’s Farmer’s Market, with the special touch of the mennonite tradition.

More markets to come…stay tuned!

The season to be jolly…at the Toronto Christmas Market

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Having been away from Toronto the last 4 years and not knowing about the Christmas celebrations going on around town, I was happy to have made my way down to the Lowe’s Christmas market at the Distillery District in Toronto.

Although I have read mix reviews on the experience (too crowded, too cold to be outdoors, pricey food, etc.), I enjoyed my visit and the chance to share with others the spirit of Christmas.  The beautiful lighting, the smile and great attitude of the vendors, the yummy treats, and the live music, all made my Christmas extra special this season.  Two thumbs up for this great idea from the Distillery District.

How about you? Was there a Christmas Market in your city or a special event to celebrate the holidays?

Happy Holidays to you all and enjoy the photos.