After having lived and travelled many places the last number of years, I had gotten pretty jaded about markets. Not that I've tired of them as they are great places to hang out, wander, and or even shop! Rather, being surrounded by produce became a given that I took for granted. I feared what would happen once I returned to a land I've referred to as the land of poor snacks and fat people. Well, let me tell you, the snacks aren't a dime a dozen, the population is still gorging itself to death while a lot of others starve, and the market scene is less than ideal. I was holding out hope that the farmers markets would provide some relief.
I found a good market in my hometown on a Saturday morning. It's not the size or scope of the place, but the beauty of the plants and produce available that made it all worth it. After a couple years of buying relatively limp produce at my street market in Bangkok, I was really in for a surprise.
There were lovely radishes
a couple of varieties of beets
lovely mixed salad greens
perfect baby carrots
fresh fiddle heads
and something new called Ranpur Limes
This rangpur was unfamiliar and the lady who sold them to me said that they aren't really limes as you know them, and she's right. A rangpur is really a hybrid between a mandarin orange and a lemon. But seeing as they were three for a buck it didn't seem too steep to try this new fruit that was grown locally in an unheated greenhouse.
Make no mistake: this is not yet food for the masses. The clientele at this market is mostly middle class folks who have the money to purchase such superior produce. After being reminded of the alternatives in the local supermarkets though, I will happily buy what I can from these farmers markets.
That night we used the beets we bought in a salad, and others to color our bua loy.
We also used taro and frozen pandan leaves.
Without access to fresh coconut and or fresh coconut milk, the bua loy was only okay. For more about bua loy, go here.
As for the rangpurs, they accompanied a shot of tequila. The rangpur couldn't really match the flavor of Mexican limes, but it gave a decently sour flavor. The bottle speaks for itself.