The exterior of Mexico City's Mercado de Jamaica. As is true in most Mexican markets, you'll find everything from fresh figs to duct tape to a great midday meal: in other words, exactly what you're looking for. However, this particular market specializes in wholesale flowers. In addition to its hodgepodge of everything under the sun, the vendors here sell literally millions and millions of flowers every single day. Photo courtesy John Woods.
This man carries his purchase: cempasúchil (marigolds) and crisántamo (chrysanthemums) for the Day of the Dead. Most of the flowers at the market are grown in the State of Mexico, which is separate from but almost completely surrounds Mexico City. In the State of Mexico, flower growing generates a yearly economic bounty of $2,700,000,000 pesos: two billion seven hundred million, folks. It's not a typo.
This truckload of wholesale flowers for the Day of the Dead--golden cempasúchil, white nube (baby's breath), and wine-red cordón del obispo (cockscomb)--was undoubtedly destined for someone's retail flower shop.
In late October, Mexico Cooks! went to the Mercado de Jamaica specifically to find flowers and decorative items to build a home altar for the Day of the Dead. We were quite taken with these veladoras (candles in their holders). We found exactly what we wanted, but that became our secondary objective once we passed into the produce section of the market.
Many of Mexico City's markets use this sort of printed sign to advertise the price of what's for sale--in this case, vine-ripened Roma tomatoes--and every sign has a bit of advice to offer about your potential purchase. I've loved these signs since long before moving to Mexico's capital. On this market jaunt, the lightbulb went on: all of you would love these typical and sometimes funny signs, too. This one urges, "Don't think about it too much...take home a little kilo!".
For already-cut-up calabaza de castilla (a hard-shell Mexican squash): 'money well spent'.
Next year, plan to come along with us to this marvelous market. Ahorita la atiendo!
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