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Published: October 16th 2014
Santiago street markets (feria) are twice a week in most of the barrios ('burbs) in the city. You will only ever live a few streets from one, and it's a regular chance to buy fresh veges, meat and seasonal produce, often straight from the grower. You get what's picked that day, and trade is brisk and goodheartedly competitive, with a fascinating cast of characters.
It's a social event as well, and lots of fun. We visit a few with Carmen, and she knows the stallholders and fellow shoppers, as they're her neighbours. She loves to show off her daughter and the odd gringo who carries the strawberries. It takes longer to shop because of the social connection and her laughter is infectious. Though I can't follow much of what is said, it clearly brightens everyone's day.
I think we've lost something in the mass commercialisation of our food.... except at a growers market, I can't remember last meeting a food producer. And shopping in a supermarket is never so colourful. Buy-local brings people together and they get more of what they need than just the nutrients.
Btw, bananas are 80 cents a kilo, the box of strawberries in
the picture cost $10, and you get avocados by the kilo for 1800 pesos (about $4)...
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