Sometime ago the Nicaraguan government thought that it would be a good idea to start a national feria (you may want to translate this as fair, but a more fluid translation would suggest farmers market). The government began to provide pro-FSLN farmers known to practice superior farming techniques (we actually know one of these farmers,have seen his land in production and drank milk straight from his cow) and producers with a small stipend to cover their travel costs. They also decided that they would not charge these farmers a fee for the selling of their goods. What this means is that Capitalianians (the people who make up the Managuan population) now have the opportunity to visit their local farmers market each weekend on Saturday and Sunday.
Cassie and I (Kevin) have gotten in the habit of going to the feria following our work at the Seminary on most Saturdays. We have developed relationships with farmers, with cheese makers and plant growers. We know where we can now find fresh salt from the sea, sesame seeds to toast or make into tahini, a woman who extracts stevia and a wonderful and aspiring English speaker who grows the most beautiful vegetation these eyes have ever seen. The market is an event for many as there exist local artistic events for adults, Nicaraguan delicacies and artisan goods for purchase, playgrounds and trampolines (I recently found out these these are just for children ages 3-13, oops).
Through this new option for consumerism Cassie and I have been optimizing a change in our diet. No longer will you find many packages of processed goods in our home, nor will you find many things kept in plastic or cooked in carcinogen producing cook wear (Cassie is maybe finally converting over to the cast-iron - fingers crossed). Instead of doing a lot of our shopping at the local grocer La Colonia, or within the clutches of the global, ever-so-effective, destroyer of all things good, Wal-Mart (ie. Pali and La Union), we are buying people whose names we are getting to know as we see them each and every week.
Of course, we do find ourselves venturing into the market that is open 7 days a week in-front of our barrio and we are still buying some items and imported produce from the local grocery store, but we are sure finding ourselves there a lot less than in the past. Above all we are just having fun, learning about different food options that we have never seen before and doing things like sampling the thirty-three different varieties of bananas that are grown in Nicaragua. We hope that you all can make a trip to your local market during the harvest and enjoy the bountiful blessings we so richly receive. And if anyone has a way of getting a honey crisp apple down here before it is squishy I would be more than willing to send you a fresh pineapple, papaya or mango from Nica. Happy Picking!