It is truly hard to believe that November 3rd, 2017 marks the 10th season of the Sayulita Mercado del Pueblo. For those of you who do not remember, our first season began after Sandrita Rodriquez, Summer Helms, Melissa Bloom, and I had lunch and complained that there were no good fruits and vegetables in town. We knew there were local growers and a lot of creative folks in the area…we just needed to find them! Several weeks and many hours of conversations later, our first season of the Mercado began! That first season, Victor generously donated his land for us to use (now Plaza Agora) and we opened with six vendors for 6 weeks. By the end of that six weeks, we had a following and several more vendors who wanted to join for the following season!
Sayulita's Mercado del Pueblo was born and our crazy dream became a reality!
This summer, I had the privilege of having the time to travel around the U.S. and was able to visit approximately 15 farmer’s markets. I was so impressed with the variety, each market having its own character- it's own sights, smells, and atmosphere or “vibe”. I spoke with many vendors and organizers, all who were especially curious about a farmer’s market in Mexico and incredibly enthusiastic to be connected on an international level to a commitment of local and homemade. I tasted some amazing produce, ate some incredible food, and saw awe inspiring craftsmanship. It made me miss home…and our lovely little, crazy idea. I know to many of you, the Mercado is an institution in Sayulita, a place to go on Friday to shop for food, eat, buy presents, decorate your home, or just hang out and listen to live music and see friends. To me, and I think for all the founders, the Mercado is a small miracle, one that reminds us that understanding and respecting local, Mexican roots and following our passions can lead to positive growth. Every Friday, I am still shocked we are open.
After ten years, I have learned some important things about farmer’s markets and our community. I truly believe that our Mercado still stands as we remain committed to our original philosophy. We are the only market that is not-for-profit in the Bahia and probably beyond, we are cooperative so vendors have to respect the individuality of each other’s products and barter when they can, we constantly try to reach out to new growers in our area to include them, and we value quality, kindness and consistency. I hope that the “vibe” of our Mercado represents these values and I would like to think that we have been successful in instilling these values in our vendors. However, the biggest lesson I have learned after ten years of Mercado is that the heart of the market remains our community. It is our incredible, resilient, diverse, and creative community that has really created and sustains the Mercado. Yes, tourists come and go. The community of Sayulita is why we are here and why we remain as long as the community wants us.
Before you stop reading, I want to acknowledge some of the people that actually make the Mercado del Pueblo happen. When you see them, please say thanks. Without these folks, we would simply not function: Nuri Bong- manager supreme, Alejandra Palomera- second manager supreme, Leslie Constable- music coordinator, and a special thanks to Chamina and Romero Cruz Rodriquez, who five years ago approached us and offered their home for our use.
Go ahead, what is your crazy dream?