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Thursday, March 10, 2011

To Market, To Market!


I love going to the market. When I was young, I would catch up with papa when he goes to the market. He usually leaves early so that he can get the new deliveries and fresh stock. We used to live in Mandaluyong and we were regulars at the EDSA Central Market for quite a long time. The EDSA Central Market was convenient for our regular meals. But when I feel like I want green salad for the week, I’d go out of my way to buy cheaper lettuce, Romanians, cauliflower and broccoli from Quiapo.

Meat Section, Farmers' Market
When I moved to Quezon City, I’ve had the privilege to try buying from Cubao’s Farmer’s Market. They have a wide selection of fruits, vegetables and seafood. Yes, market vendors have those really big prawns you hardly find in supermarkets. Farmers from the nearby provinces of Laguna, Batangas and Bulacan sell in bulk for a better price at the Farmer’s Market.

In 2003 until early 2005, we returned and lived in Vigan (Papa’s hometown). I all the more enjoyed going to the market because Php500 can buy more. My Lola’s house was 1-2km from the market and papa mostly drove us. Vigan’s enormous public market was then newly constructed. It was a total makeover from makeshift stalls to a market complex composed of four buildings. The Partas Terminal was conveniently placed near the market where many vendors of my favorite Ilocos longaniza and Bagnet were sold. I hardly ate Bagnet before, but I can’t resist offers now since it’s a privilege to eat one these days.

Our family trips to Vigan were always completed with a stop at the public market for a year’s ration of Ilocos garlic. Ilocos still grows the tastiest garlics! And then, we pass at the nearby municipality where they deep fry the corn and make cornick.

Agri-tourism will help increase the value of agri products. I think the health trend of buying from organic gardens also help popularize healthier eating choices. I have noticed that younger generation mostly prefer processed food and red meat. A normal daily diet requires red meat, but also requires a bigger portion of vegetables and fruits.
Vegetable Section at Q-Mart
I was a bit older when I first tried broccoli and lettuce from a trip to Baguio. I bought a sack of fresh goods from Baguio’s Public Market down Session Road together with bottles of Strawberry Preserves (it was off season and rainy then). At first, we had a simple buttered broccoli to go with porkchop. Because I bought a lot, my helper experimented and came up with unique dishes with broccoli. Once, my helper tried mixing the broccoli with other vegetables and chicken. I was hesitant to try it but was surprised that my eldest son, who was almost 2 years old then, liked eating the broccoli. Only, he liked it when we called it the 'green flowers'.
Baguio Public Market on right of building, behind the tree :)
Lettuce and broccoli are way cheaper in Baguio. I rarely buy them in Manila now. I wasn’t able to buy some during our Panagbenga trip but Tatay (my husband’s dad) returned from a trip to Benguet and brought a sack full of broccoli and cabbage (Thank you!). The veggies looked better, healthier and bigger than the versions I get to buy either in the ‘talipapa’ or the supermarket. I am just hoping that the government's project to push for an edible landscape will enlighten, educate and encourage us to have our own vegetable gardens.

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