On the short cobblestone street of Galavis, the Floresta Farmer’s Market takes place every Friday morning. From my hotel window, I can see the vendors setting up bright and early in the morning. I’ve heard they are around until mid-afternoon but I would recommend buying before the heat of the day. Refrigeration is not common here.
The Floresta Farmer’s Market
The Floresta Farmer’s Market is only one short block of about 10 vendors all selling fresh and local items. The vast majority are selling either fruits or vegetables. Vendors seems to specialize in one or the other. However, there was also a gentleman selling chickens, another selling fresh fish, cutting the steaks and filets as you ordered, and a large stand of fresh flowers. To my surprise, a couple of gentlemen walked the center aisle hawking freshly peeled cloves of garlic.
A Truly Ecuadorian Market
This last Friday was the first time I had been to a Quiteño market on my own and the wide variety of produce was overwhelming. There are a lot of different foods here. For example, Ecuadorian corn, or choclo, is nothing like the American variety; each ear is short and wide, each kernel fat and very starchy. Women in the stalls pop off the kernels by hand so you can buy corn either by the ear (mazorca) or by the kilo in kernels (granos).
Then there are the carrots, short and fat (and very, very tasty) and lemons that look more like small grapefruit. Feeling adventurous, I bought a potato-like vegetable that isn’t a potato at all and another called a white carrot (zanahoria blanca) that is shaped more like a sweet potato. Unlike a carrot or a sweet potato in flavor, its flesh cooked up dry, similar to a Japanese sweet potato. However, it’s flavor was more starchy, not unlike plantain or yucca.
Vegetables Even Not Your Average American Can Recognize
I also bought some things we would all recognize – local fresh cheese to serve with the choclo, green beans, bell peppers in red, yellow, and green, as well as Brussel sprouts, all very recognizable foods. And at almost every stand I asked how to cook something. I learned that Brussel sprouts are served cooked but at room temperature, sliced and dressed in olive oil and lemon juice, like a salad. Zanahorias blancas are most often pureed like mashed potatoes.
In the weeks that come, I’ll make sure to write about the different types of food, including local names, and tell you how they’re used. But for now, I feel pretty good that I managed to walk away with a decent haul of fresh vegetables for our dinners this week!
While vendors may have changed, the Floresta Farmer’s Market is still a going concern as of the date of re-publication.
This article was originally written on August 27, 2013. It has since been updated for formatting and to fix grammatical errors.
Friday Market in La Floresta
Information For Your Trip
The Floresta Farmer’s Market is open on Fridays from 8 am until 4 pm but earlier is better than later. Take small bills and coins to make purchases.
- Direction by Car, use WAZE and look for Galavis, Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador. The market will be on the cross of Galavis and Isabela Catolica.
- Direction by Public Transportation for buses around Quito, use the Google Map link and click on get directions. Use the public transportation option to find the best from your current location.