12 Aug2012

When Nico from DowntoEarth emailed to say they had the first harvest of chioggia beets that were grown in Bukidnon at the markets this weekend, I reserved a kilo or so. I LOVE chioggia beets. Sweeter, seemingly “lighter” and less earthy that the usual deep burgundy beets, chioggias are perfect for salads and not only delicious, but visually stunning as well. They are an heirloom variety from Italy, near Venice, according to this interesting post.

Organically raised, the beets were on the small side (which I like), but also pockmarked in several cases by aggressive earth dwellers… :)

I am always so thrilled when an ingredient or type of produce I have enjoyed elsewhere on the planet, proves to be a potential crop for local growers. Native produce is fantastic, but these occasional “imports” add variety to the selection as well.

Chioggias are known for their unusual pattern of concentric circles of deep burgundy and white, see some stunning photos here and here. The ones I got had the classic circles, but not as prominent as those in the linked photos. I was very happy nonetheless.

Here are the chioggias baked, peeled and sliced, ready for a simply dressing of good vinegar a pinch of sugar if you like and some salt and pepper just before serving.

The chioggias were the star of this plate of market goodies for lunch yesterday, Saturday. Some asparagus, beets, roasted red bell peppers, and three dips (eggplant, tomato and lentils) purchased from the Moroccan table at Salcedo market. At PHP300 a kilo, the beets were pricey, but considering they are highly unusual, and fully organic, I thought the price was a fair exchange.

P.S. Have vegetable vendors at Salcedo market ever heard of the phrase price gouging? Besides DowntoEarth and Herbana Farms, I RARELY and only when DESPERATE buy any more produce at Salcedo market, their prices border on unconscionable! Take for example a couple of items I inquired about yesterday… nice thick asparagus at PHP1,300!! a kilo at Salcedo market, but I bought nearly the exact same quality of asparagus at PHP300 a kilo at Fresh Fields in Market!Market! the day before! And cherry tomatoes, probably greenhouse grown at PHP400 a kilo at Salcedo Market and PHP200 or less a kilo at the FTI Saturday market. Fennel and bell peppers at Salcedo can be 100-150% more than FTI, and other more basic veggies are likewise outrageously marked-up. And fruit, egads, don’t get me started on that. Is the price of convenience really that high? When Bangkok Santol sells for PHP50 at other markets, the same santol is PHP100 a kilo at Salcedo. Avocados, jackfruit and imported fruits have massive premiums as well. And NO, NO, NO to folks who claim they sell Sagada oranges when they aren’t Sagada oranges unless there is a town in China named Sagada! Frankly, that is a real turn-off and while I agree that buyers must beware, and if they are dumb enough not to care about prices, then everyone should be happy. But I think market organizers should really look into this. If not for a few specialty growers and some cooked goods, I rarely spend much of our food budget at the Salcedo market any more… They probably take the prize for the MOST OVERPRICED MARKET IN THE PHILIPPINES.



  1. Passive.observer says:

    I agree. Produce sold at salcedo market are more expensive. Rarely buy vegetables from them. I usually just buy the cooked foods and dips.

    Aug 12, 2012 | 1:07 pm


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  3. Sleepless in Seattle says:

    OMG..love the pix!!so vivid & the beets look so yummy!! wow..all this produce are all grown there..so loving this.

    Aug 12, 2012 | 2:30 pm

  4. Ken_L says:

    I hope you also saved the leaves, either for a salad or to cook? Simply stir fry with mushrooms for a delicious side dish. Too often they are discarded but they are the equal of silverbeet (and closely related).

    Aug 12, 2012 | 3:15 pm

  5. Clarissa says:

    They look like radishes, almost :)

    True about Salcedo, especially if you are used to seeing all the other items in different markets. :) I’ve learned to just be a voyeur in Salcedo, except for the occasional snack that I can’t pass up.

    Aug 12, 2012 | 3:16 pm

  6. scott says:

    MM, Not a fan of beets but the pictures do look fantastic, I have never been to Salcedo market,so cannot judge, I did however buy probably the sweetest corn on the cob I have tasted in my life… out of the back of a pickup truck here in Cebu…it was candy, and oh so good!

    Aug 12, 2012 | 3:23 pm

  7. betty q. says:

    Thanks for the heads up on Salcedo Market prices, MM!…will keep it in mind!

    Aug 12, 2012 | 9:51 pm

  8. Thelma says:

    I had a bad experience, too, when we went there. i saw a stall selling all kinds
    of candy products. i bought a box of pastillas since i haven’t eaten those for
    a long time. coming from pampanga, i knew that pastillas are soft and made
    with gatas ng kalabaw and sugar. i openned the box when were back in the
    car and was dismayed that the pastillas were shaped round and hard as
    rocks! it was a waste of money, really….

    Aug 13, 2012 | 12:18 am

  9. kristin says:

    hi MM, i was confused with your Blog Title…’Chioggia Beets from Cagayan de Oro’ and when i read on, you mentioned that the beets actually grown in a farm in Bukidnon (DownToEarth). I actually lived in Bukidnon before coming over and live here in Scandinavia. FYI, Cagayan de Oro is not a part of Bukidnon. Cagayan de Oro is the capital of the Province of Misamis Oriental, while Bukidnon is the Province with the Capital of Malaybalay City and Valencia City..I know that ‘DownToEarth’ Farm business address is Dahilayan,Bukidnon….You might change your title, as it might generate confusion :) ..happy sunday..

    Aug 13, 2012 | 12:53 am

  10. Marketman says:

    Kristin, you are completely correct, sorry, it has been revised. Definitely Bukidnon, don’t know what I was thinking…

    Aug 13, 2012 | 6:57 am

  11. myra_p says:

    Sadly, MM, I agree with you re the vegetables pricing. Considering I’m there every weekend, I almost never buy my veggies there.

    At most, I get my salad greens/microgreens/random vegetables from DownToEarth because I’m willing to pay the premium for fully organic produce. For the rest, it’s SM, Landmark or Mara’s on Sunday at Legaspi Market.

    Btw, I like the Moroccan lady :)

    Aug 13, 2012 | 7:34 am

  12. PITS, MANILA says:

    what about the SIDCOR week-end market meet at centris in edsa?

    Aug 13, 2012 | 8:02 am

  13. Marketman says:

    PITS, I only get to the Centris market 2-3 times a year, but I got the feeling prices there was much better than say Salcedo market for fruits and vegetables, though there are a few of the same vendors. If you frequent weekend markets, this is what I have noticed. Large vendors that bring their freshest produce to the FTI market and Salcedo on Saturdays, ALSO have stalls at the Sunday markets at Centris, often with less volume and possibly lower prices, to get rid of stocks…

    Aug 13, 2012 | 8:13 am

  14. S says:

    TRUE THAT, MM! I miss shopping there but it’s way too expensive. I’d rather go to Landmark for the organic carrots, cucumber and romaine and meat, or to Market Market/Rustans for the eggs. I have yet to go to FTI.

    Aug 13, 2012 | 12:20 pm

  15. dhanggit says:

    i love beets specially in salad. But i must admit i never tasted those kinds yet, Im familiar with the ones that have deep purple color. How do they differ in taste? I often purchase my fresh beets in Market Market and they are always available :-)

    Aug 13, 2012 | 3:20 pm

  16. Nacho says:

    I used to sell in those “high end” markets. In my opinion it is the organizers themselves that create the price gouging situation. They insist on only having one seller per type of item. The organizers’ reasoning is so that the sellers do not kill each other by trying to undercut each other in pricing. Unfortunately the unintended result of this is a monopoly for the seller and they can dictate their price in that particular market. If the produce does not sell that day, they still have their regular channels where they sell at normal prices. From the point of view of a grower/farmer the limited choice of produce that the organizers allow me to sell really limits the variety of produce I can offer. In the case of the Organic section of those markets the Organizer is Mara, and she has her own rules, which I am not familiar with.

    Aug 13, 2012 | 5:01 pm

  17. Nacho says:

    It is also interesting to note that many of the organizers of these markets are stall holders as well, and have an interest in keeping the status quo. During my time at these markets attending a few of the stall holders’ meetings I got the impression that they were out to protect their interests and not the markets’ customers interest.

    Aug 13, 2012 | 5:21 pm

  18. EbbaBlue says:

    MM: …. that I picked up where on the small side (which I like….

    do you mean to say picked-up …were.. ?

    A neighbor at North Carolina gave me a paper bag full of these veggies.. and I did not know what to do with is … I thought it tasted like the bitter purple radishes that I had before… I did not use or cook it then… it went to our compost. Ngayon alam ko na ang gagawin if I ever had my hands on them again. Thanks.

    Aug 13, 2012 | 10:45 pm

  19. Marketman says:

    Ebba, thanks, edited. :)

    Aug 14, 2012 | 8:01 am

  20. Dee says:

    I agree with prices in Salcedo market being so high! I Iive just a block away, but sadly I dont get my produce there. Once, I was buying these really sad looking wansoy, which the vendor was selling for P80! Got waaay fresher ones at Landmark for P16! Haaaay!

    I always tell my Mom that I think the richest vendor is the langka vendor – no cooking required, just himay. And price is outrageous – haha!

    PS. I love love love the FTI market, but sadly we dont live near anymore. I wonder if my favorite daing vendor is still there? Its a bit wet and marinated in just vinegar – sarap!

    Aug 14, 2012 | 5:26 pm

  21. EbbaBlue says:

    Dee – pa-himay-himay nga lang ang lanka, pero golly naman ang process. You have to oil your hands, and the knife din. Tapos to wash the utensils used.. sus ang hirap. Kaya nga ang laki ng kamahalan ng “already-himay” na langka, kesyo sa whole one, or those cut in halves.

    I love langka, lalo na yung hinog sa puno.

    Aug 14, 2012 | 10:38 pm

  22. shiko-chan says:

    MarketMan, did you change the first photo? Or am I just blind?? (Ok, the latter is more likely.) Anyhow, it’s an especially gorgeous shot, at least of the orchid. <3 Of course I like the post (wow new kinds of produce!) but the photo is really lovely. :)

    Aug 15, 2012 | 11:03 am

  23. Pam says:

    Thanks for showing how to cook these beets, MM! Will this method also work with regular beets?

    Re Salcedo — I remember buying this daing na bangus in Salcedo. I found the price quite high so I haggled for a lower price. The vendor told me, “I also have a stall in Lung Center (now Centris). Buy there na lang. I sell it there cheaper pero same quality.” I asked her why she does this. She said (with a laugh) “Mas sosyal ang tao rito, so okay lang.” Since then, I made sure to be more aware of pricing per outlet so I’d know if I (and my money) am being taken for a ride.

    Aug 18, 2012 | 1:58 pm

  24. Carol says:

    Careful with your bags at salcedo market. My bag got stolen right in front of us, ambilis! It happened two days before my wedding so imagine the craziness of lost credit cards and cash. And there was lots of cash because I just withdrew for my wedding. Kainis. When I went to report to the barangay police, it became apparent that there are lots of thieves in the area. And they know where the CCTV blind spots are, they weren’t videoed at all!

    Aug 28, 2012 | 11:39 pm

  25. Marc Calo Medina says:

    Hi MM,

    Someone told me about this post a few days ago. Having set up the market and running it for four years, this price issue is really worrisome (not to mention the comments from the vendors!). I lost your email address when my gmail was hacked. Hope you can send me an email sometime to chat about the market….


    Sep 4, 2012 | 2:18 am

  26. Patricia says:

    On behalf of the Salcedo Market organizers- We are sorry to hear about this. We agree that produce at Salcedo is a bit more expensive than the other markets. However, fruits and vegetables priced 100% more is not acceptable. Thank you for your reminder.

    Sep 5, 2012 | 10:56 am

  27. ty says:

    i super duper agree…veggies at salcedo are sky high! way too expensive. i think they should be cheaper than the grocery period. that big vegetable vendor is the worst, he sells shitake mushrooms for about P120 for 5-6 pieces…not even weighed!!!!(lots of that guys stuff is not weighed) landmark sells for about P450 a kilo….worlds of difference!!!!
    also he sells capsicums for like P85 a piece! in landmark its about 45. double the price!!! geez!
    Doesnt he know how to check prices? go to the grocery and check!!! that is the least he should …he could even watch our local news and see price ranges there.
    I go to Legazpi on Sundays…more choices and more friendly. Really cool market over there! Great place to hang out too!!!

    Sep 10, 2012 | 3:39 pm

  28. Leo e says:

    I had been at Salcedo Market once. The place is for people who’s not concern with the price tags. Twice went to MarketMarket. Prices there are affordable. Talking about beet root, I am having it every other morning before breakfast with one gala apple, 1 large stick of carrot and 1/2 cup water–shaked/ blended or juiced. Try it. It’s good.

    Aug 25, 2013 | 8:13 am


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