Visiting a farmers market is a sensory heightening experience and one that often graces numerous blog posts and travel guides. Being in Colombia offers plenty of opportunities to taste, feel, see, hear, and smell that which makes up a farmers market; Bogotá alone boasts approximately 44 public and private farmers markets. Yet, when I thought about sharing my thoughts on farmers markets, I hesitated, hadn´t this character taken stage center too many times?
I couldn´t, however, deny myself the pleasure of briefly putting pen to paper (or fingers to keypad) to not only describe these places, but to simultaneously give due respect to those who help put farmers markets together, the farmers and vendors who travel into the city to offer the tasty goods of the land in a process beginning at 4 AM.
Two hours later, the market opens and greets consumers with sacks brimming with at least 30 different kinds of potatoes, avocados of all sizes, and at enough fruit to try a new one each day of the year. Vendors call out to passerbys and proudly offer samplings of their products, calling people ´vecino´ or ´vecina´ (neighbor). A good suggestion is to try some of the fresh fruit juices with one of the traditional almojabanas, a cheese-based bread, or an arepa, a tortilla like Colombian staple, before exploring the market.
More recently, organizations like OXFAM and Comité de Interlocución Campesino y Comunal (CICC) have helped set up other farmers markets to support small-scale farmers, some which drive four hours into the city to sell their produce, baked products. These, often organic goods, are offered at reasonable prices to the urban public.
Though perhaps a subject that has often been written about, it would be shame to forego a visit to one of Bogotá´s farmers markets and the opportunity to see the variety of produce available as well as the people that make it all happen.