Farmers’ markets are markets, usually held out-of-doors, in public spaces, where farmers can sell produce to the public, bypassing the middleman which sometimes takes the bigger slice of the pie.
Farmers’ market produce is renowned for being locally grown and very fresh. People argue farmers’ markets allow farmers to pick produce at the peak of flavor, preserve the nutritional content of fresh produce, and since locally grown produce does not travel as far to get to your table, the difference in mileage saves fossil fuels.
Farmers’ markets are a traditional way of selling agricultural and home manufactured products. A weekly market day is a part of normal life in villages and town squares throughout the world. A good way for a traveler to sample local foods and learn about local culture is to attend market day, especially when it coincides with a festival, such as the fiestas in many towns in Latin America. In France and other European countries, there are street markets, as well as covered marketplaces, where farmers and purveyors sell. Farmers’ markets are starting to appear online.
Whenever we can, we buy at a farmers’ market located not far away from our house at San Miguelito. The prices are extremely cheap and the quality of the products are tops. In Panama these food stands are called “ferias libres”. Many stands sell government subsidized products to ease the pain of the people who are having a hard time stretching their scrimpy incomes.
For example, you can buy high quality long-grain rice at thirty cents a pound. The price tag at the supermarkets is approximately forty cents a pound. The difference in price represents a walloping twenty-five percent. Other subsidized products are sardines, lentils, red beans and canned tuna, just to name a few.
Starting today, I will start posting photographs of a picturesque roadside market at San Miguelito displaying popular food of the Panamanian diet. The whole gallery of photographs will take about a week. As an introduction to the topic, below is our first picture of a farmers’ market in this neck of the woods. Here we go. (Please click photo to enlarge it.)