I find that local markets hit an incredible low in late-May and early Juneâ€¦ there seems to be less variety, quality and volume of produce on offer. It seems somewhat illogical at first, since the peak of the summer should be when fruit and other vegetables should also reach their peaks, but after many years back home, I find that the vendors have less to offer for a 4-6 week period during the Philippine school holiday season. Now I think there are some logical reasons for this market malaise. First, the heat is almost too much for the produce and transporting it means steaming it on the way to the markets. Also, fruits and vegetables are quite perishable so vendors buy less fearing a high loss rate. Many buyers may also be on vacation and away in the provinces or out of town. Folks are gearing up for school and tightening their spending on non-school items, etc. etc. But for some reason, the markets perk up just a few weeks after school starts and I think yesterday was a turning point this year. There was more on offer at the markets, prices were okay, and there was a lot of volume changing handsâ€¦ I went to the market by myself and at the end of 1 hour had purchased over 25 kilos of goods, filled three market baskets and was sweating like a hogâ€¦ First neat find were these organically grown white and purple eggplants shown here. Genetic mutants, these seemed like the perfect eggplants to use in an experimental bicolano style dish up soonâ€¦
I also found native dayap fruit (as opposed to the larger imported strains of limes) and purchased nearly everything my suki had â€“ close to 2 kilos that wasn’t even enough to make two dayap pies that tasted utterly deliciousâ€¦
The siling mahaba also looked terrific so I bought several bags full just in case I decided to make some Bicol Expressâ€¦
I spied some terrific looking green peppers (capsicum) and got 6, hoping to make some stuffed green peppers in the days aheadâ€¦I also got some nice large red capsicum which have been absent from the markets for about 2 monthsâ€¦
From one of my sukis I got these fantastic looking tiny tomatoes still on their vine. Not sure what I will do with them but I couldnâ€™t resistâ€¦maybe plop them into a red Thai duck curryâ€¦
Finally, I purchased the white puso ng saging or banana blossom, out of curiousity as it has been raised in comments by several readers and would apparently work better than the red variety I recently used in kare-kare or in sinigangâ€¦
If you havenâ€™t been out to the markets lately, remember to make a trip next weekend, check out what’s in season, visit your favorite vendors and buy some of the best produce the country has to offer!!!