Although Mexico’s markets have traditionally offered locally grown produce and regionally made handicrafts, the globalization of the past decade or two has changed purchasing trends immensely. Now it’s just as easy–and sometimes easier–to find produce grown in South America and artifacts mass-produced in China than to find local, Mexican goods in the Mexican marketplace. Even in the central municipal markets that have always existed in almost every Mexican town, the produce seldom comes from local farmers, but rather from distribution centers and supply trucks that bring products and produce from the four corners of the earth.
The widening of the distribution web has brought us both dividends and woes. Here in Zihuatanejo, we can happily find produce that was impossible to encounter before: firm pears and crisp, frilly escarole; quinoa from Peru and seaweed from Japan, not to mention plain old pickles and peanut butter. But it also has accustomed us to “convenient” processed products, foods that are packaged and modified, laden with pesticides and preservatives to allow for their mass cultivation and long-distance distribution. We’re now finding it imperative for our health and well-being to move back to the farmer’s market, local, or homegrown produce ideal.
Consequently, new organic and farmer’s markets are springing up around Mexico, and with their growth comes a widening in the education of the public regarding the benefits of organic, locally grown foods, permaculture practices, and sustainable living. Farmer’s markets and eco-tianguis, as they are often called here, are vehicles for learning sustainable lifestyles that may well be our lifelines to health and happiness in the future. Much more than just food distribution centers, community farmer’s and organic markets integrate all aspects of culture, music, and sustainable lifestyles into their themes and activities.
We’re fortunate in Zihuatanejo to have a local grower’s area behind our regular municipal market where small, regional farmers can sell their wares: tomatoes that have ripened on the vine, creole squashes and melons, and papayas and starfruit that might come from plants and trees just down the street from where we live. However, even local growers have been pressed into using plenty of fertilizers and pesticides to control their own small gardens. Just because the produce comes from small growers does not mean that it is organic, so when buying from them, remember always to scrub your fruits and vegetables well and disinfect them, if necessary, before consuming.
We are doubly fortunate, though, to also have our local Eco-Tianguis Sanka organic and eco-friendly local products market that sets up at Plaza del Artista on the municipal beach of Zihuatanejo (Playa Principal) every Saturday morning from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. I’ve written about the Eco-Tianguis before, but every week it changes and grows, so if you live in or are visiting the area, be sure to check it out regularly. Visit and “like” their Facebook page and give them your support: https://www.facebook.com/eco.tianguissanka.
Mexican Farmer’s Market Resources and Websites
Online, the Red Mexicano de Tianguis y Mercados Organicos http://tianguisorganicos.org.mx/ details many of Mexico’s farmer’s markets as well as information on the organic certification process in this country.
Some of the most outstanding I have found, though, are detailed below:
Mercado el 100
The Mercado el 100 claims to be the first market of organic and ecological products in Mexico City, established in 2010. Its merchants and producers hail from no farther than 160 kilometers (100 miles) distant. It is a weekly market that sets up in two locations:
Colonia Roma at Plaza del Lanzador, Orizaba street at the corner of Antonio M. Anza, Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Valle de Bravo at El Mesón de las Ánimas, Salitre #104, across from the Puerto Municipal, Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The list of products offered at Mercado el 100 is impressive: Preserves and sweet things such as maguey syrup and chocolate; eggs, meat, and fish; legumes and cereals (amaranth, rye, beans, granola, etc.); fresh vegetables and mushrooms; breads sweet and salty; herbs and seasonings, including medicinal herbs, stevia, and vanilla; sauces an oils; fresh and dried fruits; dairy products; gardening supplies, including plants, worm compost, and seeds; soaps and body care products; beverages and prepared foods, including rustic, raw vegan, and vegetarian dishes.
Tianguis Orgánico Bosque de Agua
The Tianguis Orgánico Bosque de Agua is located at Nicolás San Juan 616, Col. del Valle in Mexico City. It sets up on Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and offers foods and ecology-minded products as well as educational workshops and activities.
The Bosque de Agua website also lists the following market days in neighboring cities:
Tianguis Orgánico Toluca: Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Salón del Restaurante Nizú, Club Toluca (on Paseo Tollocan at the corner of Pino Suárez)
Tianguis Orgánico Metepec: Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Calzada Árbol de la Vida # 4o, near the corner of Av. Estado de México, across from the San Isidro fairgrounds.
Tianguis Orgánico Querétaro: Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at Av. Industrialización #4, Colonia Álamos, II Sección (La Fábrica).
Tianguis Orgánico de San Miguel de Allende
The San Miguel de Allende organic market sets up every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Ancha de San Antonio No. 32, Esq. Cardo, Colonia Centro, San Miguel de Allende, GTO
The TOSMA, A.C. organization promotes a culture of harmony and ecological awareness.
The Saturday market offers fruits and other fresh produce, seedlings, coffee, locally produced food and crafts items, as well as prepared foods.
Mercado Orgánico Alternativo Ameyalli Tlacualli
Tepoztlan, Morelos, has an organic farmer’s market that sets up at Av. Revolución No. 45, every Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Every second Saturday, they also set up at Mango, Callejón de los Campesinos No. 7 in Tepoztlán, selling organic and natural products and local crafts.
The Old Town Farmer’s Market
Every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the Told Town Farmer’s Market in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, sells products direct from producers that are within a radius of 75 kilometers of the town. Offered are fresh produce, handicrafts, clothing, educational workshops, and music.
The market sets up at Lazaro Cardenas park, across from Daiquiri Dick’s on Olas Altas.
Lake Chapala Farmer’s Market
The Lake Chapala, Jalisco, farmer’s market sells organic produce, health foods, and more.
It sets up in the Salon de Eventos La Huerta, in Ajijic, Jalisoc, on Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Mercado Orgánico Huatulco
The Huatulco organic market aims to promote the production of local, organically grown food products in the community. The MOH, as it is called, sets up in the Parque de Santa Cruz Huatulco. Visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MOHMERCADOORGANICODEHUATULCO