Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mercado El Cardonal (The Market) -Valparaiso, Chile

When we got off the bus in Valparaiso we were close to a large mercado (not grocery store, but open air market).  From what I can gather from a few different websites, this market has been open for 100 years!  It is the biggest market in Valparaiso and we had to take look around at all the offerings.

The colors of the fruits and vegetables were vibrate and everything was much larger than what we are use to seeing in American grocery stores.  That is probably because the stuff in Chile is allowed to grow to its full potential instead of being picked early and shipped thousands of miles away to ripen along the way.

Check out these lemons! Some of them were baseball size and they were CHEAP!  Two kilograms for $500 Chilean pesos, that is about 75 cents for over four pounds of lemons!  

Lemons at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

There were many more vegetables than fruit, at least from what we saw and all of them looked so wonderful!

It seemed like it was just a given that tomatoes would be on the vine and that not just be a sales tacit like it is in America.

Tomatoes at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

These aren't no puny thin little carrots and they are just over 50 cents for 2 pounds!

Carrots at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

The broccoli was heading towards the size of basketballs, I kid you not!

Broccoli at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

I would love to have vegetables THIS fresh!

Peppers at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

The market was chaotic, overwhelming, and messy (there was vegetable refuse all along the curb) but those things can't scare you away.  

Vegetable Refuse in the Street at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Sometimes you just have to dive in and go for it.  We Americans are use to and expect everything to be clean and tidy, almost sterile.  There is no way in the world this trash on the street would be allowed near our food or near us as we walked to get our food.  But most of us are so far removed from our food sources that we aren't really sure how even some vegetables grow....celery anyone?  (I had to look that up!!)  I hope to find a balance one day and maybe there is one but I just live in too small of a community to find it.

In the meantime, let's continue our stroll around the market.  

We did find it startling to see all the eggs just out in the open like this and not in refrigeration. 

Eggs at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

As it turns out most of the rest of the world doesn't keep their eggs cold and if you would like to know why check that out here.  It boils down to if the egg is washed right away it has to be kept cold (the American way and a few other countries), if it is not washed then it is fine staying out (the rest of the world).

Also did you notice the pet (mascotas) food beside the eggs? Gatos (cats) and cachorros (puppies)!

Speaking of mascotas!  Not sure what the cat saw and there is a good chance I do not want to know.

Cat in Dried Beans at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Along with dried beans, there were also several different types of nuts.

Walnuts (aka little least that is what I am calling them right now).

Walnut at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Chestnuts, but not roasting on an open fire.

Chestnuts at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Even piñones, which are a Chilean nut. They come from the monkey-puzzle tree or scientifically, araucaria araucana which is the the national tree of Chile.

Pinones at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Apart from fruits, veggies, dried beans, and nuts you can also find junk food at this market.

Junk Food at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Household goods can also be bought there.  

Household Items at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Funny story, in Santiago after 5 PM when most people were getting off work, the street vendors really came out of hiding.  They would set up on the streets to sell all manner of things including toilet paper and people were buying from them!  I guess if you needed t.p. and it was right there for the buying, meaning you didn't have to hunt down a store, then why not?

We had almost completed one full circle around the market when we turned a corner and saw, make that smelled, the fish portion.  Growing up in west Texas and now living in south Texas, there wasn't a whole lot of fresh fish happening.  My fish world was reduced to freshwater catfish and bass, and then whatever was at the grocery store.

All this Chilean saltwater fish and seafood was a sight to behold!

Reyneta or reineta fish is a popular Chilean fish.  It was $4.50 for one filet or $7.50 for two.  It was very pricey stuff!

Reineta Fish at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Merluza is another popular Chilean fish.

Merluza Fish at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Octopus, anyone?  I wouldn't know what to do with one if I had one!

Octopus at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

One last thing at the market that I am going to share are these fresh crabs.

Crab at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Very very fresh....

Again, I wouldn't know what to do with one of those.  If I got a living one, it would go in a tank and I would be looking online for what to feed it!!

I hope you enjoyed our journey around the mercado in Valparaiso!

My next post will be about art, fine art, that is!  I hope you will return to read all about it!

Until then!