In Spanish the farmers market is the feria del agricultor, and the word “fair” is a better descriptor than “market” of the way I feel once I get there. Once I get there is the key term, since I have a hell of a time waking up and getting out the door on a weekend morning, but when I can manage it, the rewards are great.
Visiting more markets and sampling fruits and veggies I have never tried was one of the challenges I set myself for this year of living more Costa Rican-ly, and I finally got going with a visit to the Feria Tres Ríos on a recent Saturday. I picked up some jaibas, a cucumber-y vegetable I’d never seen before, but my most exciting discovery will sound very boring to a U.S. reader: local apples. Apples are a staple in my kitchen because I have a kid who will eat produce only if it’s crispy – yes, it’s a joy – but they are usually imported from Chile or the U.S. and cost a fortune. Finally, I found cheap, deliciously tart apples from the nearby mountains of Los Santos! A revelation, as were tiny, Costa Rican-grown Hass avocados.
Beyond anything specific we put in our totes, or carts – or wheelbarrows, which the truly serious fair-goers use in Costa Rica – the market feels like a cure to all that ails us. Locally grown food, actual human interaction with the people who grow it, ice-cold syrupy copos and tortillas con queso. What more is there to life? I’d love to hear or even see pictures of the strangest or best thing you’ve found in your local market or farm box, anywhere in the world, or to hear about your favorite Costa Rican feria. Now that I’ve managed to get myself to the closest market I can possibly visit, it’s time for me to hit the road.
I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook! You can also find me churning out small, square poems on any topic under the sun (here on the site, on Instagram or Twitter).