Saturday, September 19, 2009

I'll take that papaya for 50cents, and why don't you throw in those bananas too, and we'll call it an even 80cents.

This morning after pancakes, Grandpa and I went to a market in the northern end of Quito. It was huge; full of grains and beans, smells, ripe fruits, dripping fish, flailing crabs, pig heads, ava pods, brown eggs, bright eyed children, and all sorts of other things.

This is a simple motorized grain grinder. You could get a whole variety of fresh flours, from normal whole-grain to purple maiz. You are encouraged to dip your finger tip in and try them.
Along with all the beauty of fresh fruits and vegetables, there were several stalls selling every part of a pig or cow you could ever imagine eating. You could also buy live crabs (poor things, we are not close to the coast here in Quito), several kinds of silvery fish, and coagulated blood for soups.
A young woman was trying to convince these goats to go one way or another, but they were really just interested in the vegetable debris on the ground. She told Grandpa how much fresh milk was, but we didn't get any.
Unlike the States, here you can find many many varieties of beans, corn, grains, and roots (like potatoes and native carrot-like tubers.)As my grandfather pointed out, markets are interesting places to study sociologically. Have you ever wondered how there could be fifty stalls all selling the exact same thing? Why doesn't one person just buy up all the potatoes and open a potato store? It seems, there is something very important that communities gain from markets. The discussions about the food, the interactions between people who otherwise would not interact, the producer to buyer connection? What are we really losing in the States every time we buy our lettuce at a big chain grocery store?

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