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Farmer’s Market Finds

The best time to go to the Farmer’s Market is at 5:30am. It’s not hot, parking is easy, and there aren’t too many people. Plus, you get first pick.

It’s been months since I went to the market. After watching Food Inc. last night (which you ought to watch, if you haven’t), somehow I just needed to be among fresh vegetables, meat, and seafood.

Being in the market gives me a sense of independence, and a feeling of belonging to the human race. It gets me in touch with my primal, caveman side since gathering food is basic to survival. Hunting for the best produce and meat thrills me. I’m not entirely sure if the produce is organic, and if the meat is grass-fed (probably not). But for the vegetables, it’s a step in the right direction to weaning me off a predominantly junk food diet.

The market is a wondrous place teeming with life. You can see and hear folks haggling the best prices, fish vendors removing guts (and the painstaking task of removing the bones of a bangus), piles and piles of vegetables, the fresh slaughtering of a chicken (no pictures, you have to see it in person), buckets of seafood in the middle of wet floors… It also greets you with so many smells. My cousin hates it (most people do) but I enjoy the smell of the sea through the laid out fishes, and raw scent of meat and sausages, and the occasional whiff of fresh flowers from the flower stalls.

Nevermind that I looked like a tourist taking pictures of everything. Thankfully, nobody shouted “Si Sandara!” like before. Must be the hair. More pictures after the jump.

A glorious heap of vegetables.

A mountain of lettuce. We didn’t buy, but it was quite a sight.

While I was picking out shiitake mushrooms, the vendor poured in a bag of new ones. The bread-like smell of the mushrooms was intoxicating.

Grape tomatoes, beets (at last!), purple cabbage, and romaine lettuce.

Heads of broccoli heads (hardly seen), asparagus, wansoy, pechay, and garlic stalks.

Tagalog pechay on the right. They’re small, like miniature pechay bunches. I forgot what the yellow flowered greens are, but we did see some squash blossoms. I’ll be getting some of those next time.

I was happy to see that our suki had large garden tomatoes.

Eggplants and ampalaya.

Taro, and a bunch of calamansi big enough to be mistaken for small dalandan fruits.

Puso ng saging (heart of palm), and camote. I bought several of those and can’t wait to bake them, stuff them, or turn them into ice cream. Our suki also had ubod, which I look forward to getting some other time.

Peanuts.

Sweet corn, white malagkit corn (the sticky non-sweet variety that’s delicious when boiled and slathered with margarine and salt)

Bananas and papayas.

Fresh tilapia that sold for Php90/kilo vs the even more fresh fish (in the tanks) that were Php140/kilo. I was able to find some clear-eyed ones which looked live enough to be swimming in a tank.

Sea snails and clams (which became today’s lunch: halaan).

Stingrays! Ever tasted one?

A stall selling seaweed, although I hate those because they’re so salty and slimy when the sacs burst in the mouth.

The fresh dilis couldn’t help catching my eye from afar. They were small, silvery, and so pretty.

Not captured in the picture, but the dots on the squid were actually shimmering. You’ll know the squid is fresh not just from the translucent quality of the body, but the dots will be pulsating in a shimmery kind of way.

Bangus (milkfish) are quite a serious looking fish.

Intestines, pork legs, sausages (not pictured, but it was near the guts), and a large piece of liver (right side).

A bag of chicken legs.

Everyone should go to a market at least once in their lives. Farmer’s Market in the Cubao area is a pretty good place to go. Here are some tips for when you go:

  1. When you go to the market, wear something even more casual than jeans, because the smell will stick. Some parts of the floor might have puddles (seafood section) so wear rubber slippers or boots. (This is in the case of Farmer’s Market in Cubao)
  2. Bring a calling card or ID if you plan on using one of their shopping carts. You’ll need to leave it with them, and get it back when you return the cart.
  3. Bring a large tupperware for the wet goods (meat, seafood) or have a pastic bin ready in your car
  4. Bring a bayong/large bag for produce, etc.
  5. Don’t bring a bag. If you do, you might want a fanny pack (hahaha) or a small small bag that you can mind at all times. If you can just put everything in your pocket, I’d recommend that.
  6. Use the bathroom before you come.

To close, here are bags of pigs blood. Advanced happy halloween. MUAHAHAHAHA.

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