On our recent trip we had the chance to visit two city markets and one garden but my favorite market was the one in Cusco, Peru.
In Cusco the market is where the residents do all their food shopping. Don't expect to find fancy supermarkets in this town. There are no isles of prepared and packaged food, canned goods. Just whole foods.
Let's look at the potatoes first. You probably know that potatoes came from South America. I have never seen so many different varieties. We didn't get to see all 3800 kinds but there was a good sampling in this market including these strange white potatoes. Known as Chuno, they have been treated to a process of freezing and then drying in the sun. The process dates back to pre Inca times and was a way to treat the potatoes to prevent them from growing mold in storage.
Along with corn these are one of the main staples of the Inka Peruvian diet.
Along with lima beans.
In one Andean village we bought a packet of dried lima beans. I could OD on these.
And back to the market, sacs of grains and pulses.
If you need to season your pot of beans you might like to add a little dried seaweed for flavor.
and some other fruits of the sea.
There were stalls of herbs and packages of roots and herbs.
And even the big pots in which to cook everything.
This area is famous for it bread. One of our guides told us he always takes this bread when he goes to visit family in Lima.
And there are cheeses to go with the bread.
There are the inevitable herbal medicine stalls. We see those wherever we go and can only be left to guess at how they use the products they are selling. Dried starfish?
And little pots in which to assemble your concoction.
I get the feeling that if you use this bag of dried shavings it will bring you wealth but not sure if you burn it or boil it.
And who knows what these are for.
We lingered at this medicine stall where David got a full explanation of what they were selling in a refilled coke bottle. It was some kind of green herbal mix. I wouldn't be touching that with a barge pole. While we were standing there two young westerners came by to buy a couple of bottles! Was it going to help them hike the Inca Trail, I wonder.
The shop owner gave me these rounds of some root for luck. Although I accepted there was no way I was taking those back into the USA. Those dogs at customs would have that sniffed them out in a second.
These were the roots from which they had been cut.
No, I was far more interested in buying one of these decorated gourd rattles to weave my magic.
Back to the fruit stalls. Every fruit under the sun and so fresh and delicious.
And a row of fruit juice stalls. We had so much fresh fruit juice we are spoilt for life.
What a wonderful morning we spent at the San Pedro market.