It's raining here in Northern California, hailing too. And freezing cold and snowing on the East Coast, which means most of us are thinking about summer. In my family, summer means eating lots of delicious fruit, and we got a head start on it this week when our local produce market received some wonderful sweet watermelons and mangoes from Mexico. Not exactly eating local, but it's our little guilty pleasure that helps us deal with missing Michoacán.
Ay, the mangoes--the Morelia markets carry like five different varieties-- all delicious and not expensive. I also miss Mexican papayas, and though one can sometimes find them here in the U.S., I'd rather wait until I can get a good one there. But folks, you have no idea what an avocado should taste like if you haven't had an avocado in Michoacán, which is by the way, the avocado capital of the world. And cheap?! Oh yeah. It's a staple, every day food, and we buy them by the dozen. Actually one pays by the kilo, usually about 10 pesos a kilo, which is like 50 cents a pound.
Markets are great fun, and a must if you go to visit Mexico. Especially the giant ones that take up several square city blocks. When we first arrived in Morelia we lived close to the medium size Mercado San Juan or La Revolucion (we preferred the second name, which was for the street it was on). I liked saying, " I'm going to the Revolucion", or "I got these from the Revolucion". But after about a month we found an amazing 200 year old house to rent on the other side of Morelia's Centro Historico. It became our home for almost a year, and we said goodbye to the Revolucion and came to know and love the gigantic Mercado de la Independencia. There are aisles of leather huaraches, belts and boots. Colorful piñatas, rows of gorgeous fresh flowers and an assortment of bird cages. But it's the food at the mercado...the beautifully ripe fruit and vegetables, the mounds of nuts and tubs of delicious local honey... and the amazingly fresh tortillas! We never learned how to make tortillas while we were there, because we could just walk the three blocks to find the señoras, who were waiting there to sell us a dozen of their perfect, handmade corn tortillas. Roll one up with a slice of avocado, and it's a little piece of heaven. Yumm.
Above is a market scene created out of clay by one of our favorite indigenous artists from the village of Ocumicho. The devil seems to have a thing for mangoes too!
Scroll down and click on the photos of more Ocumicho clay art, available from www.mexicobyhand.com. Yes, below is a tortilla making machine, which one sees in many neighborhoods and often at large markets.
Click below for two views of a chicken truck, by award-winning artist, Zenaida Rafael Julian.