Friday, September 2, 2011

Local Foods Class -- Part 2 of 3

My last post left off with our class walking to the Mercado 10 de Agosto (otherwise known as Diez de Agosto marketplace).  It was about a fifteen minute walk "up" into town.  This mercado is located just off of Calle Larga (take a left on Calle Larga after you walk up the long, steep ramp).

The potatoes, meat, and fruits are on the first floor; and the vegetables and medicinal flowers are on the second floor.

When you first go inside, you'll see the potatoes (chaucha, cholla, milloco, among others).  The potatoes in the Andes are very starchy so you need to pick the right kind for the type of cooking you're doing.  The chaucha is best for making mashed potatoes, and the cholla pequena make good potato salad because they don't fall apart during the cooking process. 

Price List

Other tubers include cassava/yuca (yucca), oca (yam), camote (sweet potato), and mashua.

Next it's onto the fruit -- and there is so much to choose from.  You'll see fresas (strawberries), moras (blackberries), guineos (bananas), pina (pineapple), pitahaya (dragon fruit), babaco (a type of papaya), uvilla (gooseberry), sandia (watermelon), cherimoya (Mark Twain's favorite fruit), granadilla (passion fruit), tomate de arbol (tree tomato), and guayaba (guava), among others.

Note:  Branden did say that the best apples to make applesauce with are the small ones from Paute (manzanas del Paute).

Moras (blackberries)

Sandias (watermelons) and
Babacos (mountain papaya)

Fresas (strawberries)
Price List
Then it's onto the meat section, where you'll see large cuts of beef and whole chickens.  No pictures here so as to not offend the vegetarians.

Here are pictures of the aesthetics of the building itself:



Stained Glass Ceiling

Next, it's onto the second floor to the vegetables.  Again, there is so much quantity, it's amazing.  You'll see cebollas (onions), tomates (tomatoes), calabacin (zucchini), coliflor (cauliflower), brocoli (broccoli), calabazas (pumpkins), zanahorias (carrots), and maiz (corn), among other veggies.

Col (cabbage)

Tomate de arbol (tree tomatoes).  They're actually
fruits and make delicious juice.

The onions (cebollas) are already peeled for you!

Price List for the veggies

Zucchini (huge)!


The carrots (zanahorias) are short and fat,
but still very good.

An indigenous woman shelling the corn

Another woman grinding the corn, to make
cornmeal for empanadas, tamales, and humitas.

Now, it's onto the area where they sell the chocolate and the spices:

Also the eggs:

These eggs were beautiful (of course naturally colored)
Lastly, we saw the medicinal plants and flowers.  They were beautiful also:

I had a tea made from these flowers, and it was delicious. 
(You boil the flowers in water, strain, then add sugar and lime juice.)
Now that we know where to buy the groceries, our next class will be to learn how to cook them in delicious recipes.  Not sure when that class will be, but should be soon.


  1. I have never seen anything like that. You are in my culinary heaven. I wouldn't know where to start. I would be making lots of fruit desserts. That's for sure. I have looked at local farmers markets for the blue eggs but have never found them. That market was more beautiful than ant that I saw in Italy. I can't wait to see what you'll be cooking up next. Keep blogging because I keep looking. Say hi to Mike.



  2. Great post, Patti. Beautiful and extensive pictures. I've been to the various mercados many times, but I learned some new things from your info. How about doing a post of the meats, and just pre-warn vegans, enter this post at your own risk? Jim Mola

  3. Hi Nicole,

    Glad you're enjoying my blog. It's good to get back into blogging again. Who knew that I would enjoy it so much!

    I thought you'd like the blogs about the food. There is so much fresh, organic food available here (and cheap too!).

    Love to you & Jay (& my grandkids too!)

  4. Hi Jim,

    That's a good idea about doing a blog post about the meat. I think I'll do that (with a warning to the vegans). It's not pleasant to see what our meat looks like in these markets because we are so far removed from the food production in the States. However, if I had grown up like my dad did on a farm in Illinois, it wouldn't be so "foreign" to me (excuse the pun!).

  5. Great post. Gorgeous photos. Soooooo cool to see all of those healthy foods.