Joey Malana has been a feature of organic or weekend markets since the mid-90’s. He first worked with another farm that was well known for its lettuces, herbs and other Tagaytay grown vegetables. Today, he manages a stall at the Saturday Salcedo Market and he carries goods from four sources: Organic Vegetables, Isabela Farms, Tagaytay Farms and Mountain Trail. His stall is quite complete and the vegetables always look terrific. A bit on the pricier side, it’s well worth the reliability, selection and quality of his goods. He has the largest vegetable stall in the Salcedo market and many regulars that have come to rely on him for their week’s supply of produce. On a recent weekend, his stall had fantastic tomatoes from Ilocos (vine ripened), small squashes, squash flowers, herbs and large bulbs of Tagaytay grown fennel. He also carries all of the staples such as potatoes, garlic, onions, kangkong, cabbage, etc.
Joey used to go to several markets a week and I forgot to ask him where he transferred to on Sundays. I will ask him the next time I see him so others around the city will know where to find him. Joey is another great example of the difference it makes when the owner/manager is present at his or her stall — it exudes a genuine market feel and care for both the stuff being sold and the people who shop there. Joey often has suggestions for how to use some of his more unusual goods and can also bring larger orders if given enough advance warning. Some of his vegetables are organically grown but I am not certain what proportion of everything he sells is actually raised in an organic manner. Although he is a middleman (he doesn’t grow the stuff himself), he serves a tremendous role of selecting what’s best out there and bringing it to the heart of Makati’s highrises.
Joey always has a large crew of staff to help him prep the vegetables and keep the produce stand well-stocked and produce attractively displayed. Check out can be a bit crazed as several buyers swarm the cashier but overall this is a really nicely run produce stand. Look for Joey the next time you visit the Salcedo Market on Saturdays.