Monday, 28 September 2009
For the last three Sundays, we've been taking our fruits and products to sell at the Cahuita Farmers' Market. Cahuita is a small town with one main road and a lot of hotels and restaurants hidden along the beach or back in the forest. It used to be the end of the road and very popular for backpackers, but then the road was pushed through all the way to Manzanillo and Cahuita became a bit of a backwater.
The farmers' market started maybe 2 months ago. It's in the basketball court behind the casa de cultura at the end of the main street, almost at the beach. There's no roof over the stalls, but morning shade is provided by a large almond and even larger caimito tree. A mature mango soaks up the sun across the court from where we set up our stall. It seems fitting that fruit trees surround the market, they are certainly beautiful to look at. Our spot is under the almond and yesterday we were graced by a soft rain of tiny yellow white flowers.
While the setting is more beautiful and bigger than the Puerto market, there are fewer vendors and a little less energy. Claudio the market manager is trying to change that. Yesterday he had a good calypso / reggae band perform - he even sang a couple of numbers himself - until a heavy downpour shorted out the speakers. It was good, although the band set up behind the stalls and all the customers left the market to be near the music. But we enjoyed it. And there's a raffle: each vendor donates one or two items to make up two baskets to be raffled off. Every time someone spends 3000 colones (about $5) they receive a raffle ticket. It doesn't matter if you spend a dollar here, another there - for every 3000 spent you get a ticket. The draw is called at noon and one has to be present to win. It's a great idea and the raffle draws people. I think the market will continue to grow. Five vendors, including us, come from the Puerto market. Cahuita is far more mellow, with people drifting in and out, there's time to share a little bit or visit with the other stallholders.
We're there not because we don't enjoy a restful Sunday morning, but because we have a lot of fruit right now. Our harvest will last for another 6 weeks or so and then I don't know if we'll continue at Cahuita. I would like to - to support the market and I like the atmosphere, but it makes for a long weekend. Our plants go down very well and slowly people are buying our jams and dried fruits. I haven't taken tempeh or kombucha there yet - that's a whole education and I don't know that there's so many people familiar with them, or interested in learning. It works in Puerto because of the large number of north Americans who already know or have heard of them. The foreigners in Cahuita are mostly Swiss - we sometimes hear more Swiss German spoken than Spanish - and seem a bit more cautious in their eating habits. We'll see, if they can erect a roof of sorts for the rain and more people come it will be hard to give it up. Support your local Farmers' Market!!!