What a week.
First off, let me say my heart is broken. For those in Boston, for those in Texas, for those trying to figure out how to go on from here. We as a nation are strong, that I know. But individual families are hurting right now, and for them, and all of us, we pray for strength and comfort.
Personally, it was a good week, but a tiring one. Bachelorette weekend in Napa, camping with 24 children and 13 of their parents -- most of whom had never camped before -- in the rain, hours upon hours of parent teacher conferences... all since the last time I posted one week ago. I know I promised you Rio de Janeiro this weekend, but my friend in Rio had a week of taking care of sickies and other things that pop up in life, postponing Rio until another day. And so I bring you the farmers' market in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil!
Remember last week when I said that I initially fell in love with farmers' markets while in Brazil? This is the one, folks... the one that opened my eyes.
Ribeirao Preto, or Black Stream, is a city of around 600,000+ inhabitants, yet is not considered to be a large city at all. With Sao Paulo coming in at over 11 million and Rio de Janeiro at a little more than 6 million, you can see how a measly 600,000 is in comparison. If I were to compare it with an American city in size and number of stores/etc, I would say it matches a 70,000 person city here. Which is to say not a big city, but not a small city either... something in the middle. Unlike most tourist destinations in Brazil, it is not found along the coastline. Instead, it is in the 'interior' of Sao Paulo state, about four hours to the nearest beach. Despite the lack of beach, it is commonly referred to as the "Brazilian California" because it has an economy based off of agriculture and technology, as well as having a high number of wealthy people and sunny days.
As all cities, Ribeirao Preto is broken up into bairros or neighborhoods, most of which having their own feira livre. This feira livre (or 'free market') serves the bairro my in-laws live in. A collection of fresh fruit and vegetables line the street as people walk up and down inspecting the produce, looking for a bargain on something fresher than fresh.
And this is great. That's why we go to farmers' markets, right? Well... in Brazil there is another reason to go to the feira livre. That reason?
A late morning snack with friends, made up of pastel and caldo de cano.
THIS is why I came to the feira livre week after week. Fresh produce? Nice. Pastel and sugarcane juice? Even better.
Pastel, a deep fried pastry with assorted fillings such as cheese or meat or even pizza flavors, is a Brazilian street food that I am sure everybody loves. Maybe not everybody eats it every time as deep-fried-anything is not always the healthiest, but I am sure life has taught you that deep-fried-everything is a little tastier than the norm. Pastel is that and even more.
Caldo de cano, or sugar cane juice, is another big hit at the farmers' markets in Brazil. Squeezed straight out of the sugar cane, it is naturally sweet. Add a bit of lime and you are in Juice Heaven.
This is why I fell in love with the feira livre!
All of that produce isn't that bad, either ;)
So, what can you get for $10 in Ribeirao Preto? Well, a friend of mine visited a farmers' market near there recently. For $6 she got six carrots, a large bag of oranges, two cloves of garlic, ginger, three limes, and half a dozen eggs. Not bad at all! Looks like with the extra four bucks we could add some of those potatoes and a pineapple. I'm telling you... quality meets quantity at the farmers' market. Time to get yourself out there!
|// via farmersmarket.com on facebook //|
I have a few links for you this week that I am sure you will like.
Find your local farmers' market here, and then be sure to like them on Facebook so you can stay in-the-know with all things farmers' market related!
Head over to Cost Plus World Market to get some great Farmers' Market necessities, like cute bags to tote your stuff and cookbooks that tell you what to do with all of your great finds.
Make sure you are storing your fab finds correctly so they stay fresh.
See you next week, with a glimpse into a Florida market :)