One of the best things about living in Monteverde is the Feria de Agricultor, or farmer’s market that happens every Saturday morning in Santa Elena. I highly recommend that you visit la Feria if you live here or are traveling through the area. These are the top 5 reasons to shop at la Feria de Agricultor.
1) A variety of beautiful, mostly organic, mostly local produce. There are some vendors that are at the Feria every Saturday, like Don Victor with his fruit stand. The ones who grow their produce in smaller gardens are not always there. Regardless of which vendors make it to the Feria, you will be guaranteed a wide selection of colorful fruits and vegetables. Not all of it is local, like my apples from Peru. Local apples are tiny, ugly-shaped little things that are actually sweet and delicious but are only available seasonally. Peruvian apples look like they are grown to perfection by untold means, but they are tasty and pretty and year-round. Not all of the produce is organically grown either. All of the vendors will be very honest about the origin and farming methods of their produce if you to ask. The gentleman who runs the hydroponic garden does not use pesticides at all. The guy I buy tomatoes from only uses cornstarch as a bug killer. I consider produce “local” if they are harvested in Costa Rica, like the strawberries from Poas. I prefer to talk to the grower about their farming methods than to rely on an impersonal label. If you are picky about only eating local, organic produce, you will still have a lot of choices at the Feria, but may have to do without on some of the products. I am not that picky because there are some things I just do not want to give up. I have never asked if the mangos are organic or local, because I have chosen to take a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy about them. I don’t want to know because honestly, I don’t want to give up eating mangos every day. Especially these sweet, delicious mangos from Don Victor.
2) Socializing. You will always find someone you know at the Feria, whether on the way to, at the gym itself, or on the walk back home. I know it is kind of sad that the highlight of my social life dies and ends with the local farmer’s market, but this is Monteverde! I cannot stay up past 8:30 pm on most nights, and I am up at 5:00 am daily without setting an alarm. So of course the main social event in town that I attend happens early in the morning. I love running into my friends and neighbors at the Feria. I catch up on what is going on with everyone I know in town in addition to stocking up on my week’s worth of produce.
3) Ingrid’s bread and other prepared foods. I love bread. I always have a homemade loaf on my counter and whenever one of my neighbors comes by with bread to sell I buy some, in addition to getting Roberto’s bread from the CSA. And I always buy Ingrid’s bread at the Feria. In addition to Ingrid’s delicious breads, you can also find ice cream, tamales, coffee, and honey at the Feria.
4) Support the local economy. Some of the produce here is so cheap, especially that grown by the local gardeners like the guys from whom I buy tomatoes, corn, and oranges. By no means are they getting rich, but I like knowing that my colones (Costa Rican currency) are going directly to them. The same goes for the vendors who sell the breads and other prepared foods. I would rather support them than a big super market.
5) Eat healthier. A recent report showed that Americans eat more fruits and vegetables when they have access to farmer’s markets. So going to the Feria is not only fun, economical, and delicious, it is also healthy for you.
Next time you are in Monteverde on a Saturday, make sure you stop by the Feria. Or stop by the Farmer’s Market in your hometown. It will be worth it.
- Monteverde Sustainability Projects: Finca La Querencia (puravidafamilia.com)
- Where Do You Buy Food in Monteverde? (puravidafamilia.com)