Placita Roosevelt, a public square in the City of San Juan, Puerto Rico, harbors a special farmers market: the Organic Market managed by Cooperativa Orgánica Madre Tierra (“Madre Tierra”). Every first, third and fifth Sunday of the month, local farmers who apply agroecological practices and businesses that sell healthy food or artisanal products meet at this marketplace.
As soon as we arrived at Madre Tierra’s Organic Market, we looked at Finca Gripiñas’ products: green bananas, papaya, buttercrunch lettuce, moringa, medicinal plants and dehydrated banana chips, among others. Homemade desserts, such as tembleque and an appetizing banana-coconut-and-mango bread, were also available for sale.
Elena Biamón highlighted that the farm’s specialty is agroecological coffee, and that Finca Gripiñas also serves as a coffee roasting business. The proud farmer explained that the farm sells coffee under the Tureygua and Manchari brands. She referred to Tureygua coffee as "café celestial" since its brand name is a Taíno indigenous people's vocabulary word that means "heavenly" (celestial). Elena mentioned that Tureygua coffee is made of coffee beans grown at Finca Gripiñas farm in the Municipality of Jayuya while Manchari coffee is made of coffee beans grown by other farmers who also engage in agroecological practices. Market visitors may savor Tureygua coffee along with one of the farm’s homemade desserts.
Afterwards, we looked closely at Desde Mi Huerto’s fresh parsley, beet, red and green spinach, fennel and spearmint. This farm business, located in the Municipality of Isabela, also sells Desde Mi Huerto’s U.S. Department of Agriculture certified organic seeds.
Then we were captivated by Finca El Reverdecer’s beautiful purple daikon radish and red radish. Green lovers might be interested in this farm’s pak choi, arugula, kale-arugula-and-tatsoi mesclun and romaine lettuce grown in the Municipality of Ponce.
Those who like health food with extra nutrients might appreciate the microgreens grown by The Rooftop Garden, which manages an urban agricultural project. Kohlrabi and purple and green radish microgreens were available. This business also sells edible flowers (e.g.: cosmos) and mature crops such as misuna, purple and green radish, kohlrabi and sunflowers.
The sunflower and coconut horchatas made by The Rooftop Garden were delicious. Visitors may also purchase sesame horchata made by this business. Horchata is a plant milk beverage.
El Josco Bravo, a farm located in the Municipality of Toa Alta known for its agroecological practices, offered for sale fruits, vegetables, greens and herbs. Green plantains, eggplants, guinep (quenepas in Spanish), melons, passion fruit, tomatoes, lettuce, chives, bok choy, mesclun and arugula were some of the nature gifts sold by El Josco Bravo.
Following our observation of farm products, we were impressed by Peace n' Loaf’s gorgeous artisanal breads: country batard bread, curcuma and pepper bread, cranberry and nuts bread, breakfast pull-apart bread, oatmeal bread, and whole grain bread. As Stephanie Berry showed us the breads, we noticed how she takes care of these as if they were her babies.
Vegetarian and vegan food was also available at Madre Tierra’s Organic Market. For example, Golden Inka’s gastronomic offer included canoa made of sweet plantain with mushrooms and other vegetables, and “vegan mofongo” made of plantain and cauliflower. Also, we saw a special dish cooked by Tierra Valiente: rice and black beans, chickpea stew, papaya and greens salad, and sweet plantain pastelón filled with jackfruit and vegan cheese.
Handmade soaps and body oils with fragrances that induce relaxation also caught our attention. Almond, lemongrass, sandalwood, coconut, mango and honey are some of Marisel Herbal Bath & Body bar soaps’ aromas. Body massage and stress relief oils, body splash sprays, and mosquito repellents are also sold at Marisel Herbal Bath & Body’s table.
Besides the fresh and healthy food choices and handmade products, Madre Tierra’s Organic Market distinguishes for its peaceful atmosphere among market sellers who respect Mother Earth and strive to foster the public’s well being, and consumers who look out for wellness and support eco-friendly practices.
The farms and businesses mentioned above are those we had the chance to get to know during our exploration at Madre Tierra’s Organic Market. Visitors have the opportunity to meet all the market’s participants and appreciate their products.
Madre Tierra’s Organic Market is open every first, third and fifth Sunday of the month from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. Talks about agroecological practices may be given at the marketplace. T. 787-200-8580 W: coopmadretierra.org