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, from a haircut 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.
Nuns buying flowers for their convent. Approximately 80% 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.
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'.
Limas--and there really is no translation for this uniquely Mexican fruit. They are neither limes nor lemons, nor are they oranges. But as the sign says: it's scrumptious!
Pink-fleshed guavas--take the best! And the orange sign to the left says, "Give Trump a trumpada..." with a papaya! Loosely translated, it means bop him one with a papaya. You can also see plastic cups filled with pomegranate arils, whole pomegranates, bananas, clementines, and cantaloupes.
In Mexico, if something is super-wonderful, people say "...no tiene madre..." (it has no mother). In this case, the merchant's sign for the apples says, "...de poca mad...", or "...it has only a little mother...", but just barely skirts accepted language boundaries by cutting the ..."re...", off the madre, leaving you to think of the word by yourself.
Tomate verde (tomatillo, in English) at six pesos the kilo: 'Don't look any further!'
Tunas are cactus fruits, and extremely refreshing and delicious. Their texture is like watermelon. In this case, the sign reads, Tunas Chingonas--the best translation I can think up is badass cactus fruit!
Here's a peeled tuna. The fruit is easier to peel than a tangerine; cut off each end, slit the thick skin, and peel it off the fruit.
Next year, plan to come along with us to this marvelous market. Ahorita la atiendo!
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