What to Expect at Farmer’s Market

After years of hearing about one of the best markets  in town, I was finally able to visit Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago. I didn’t know what to expect in the market (palengke) except for fresh seafood because my friends and even my grandmother recommend buying from Farmer’s. So, I asked my mom if she could accompany me one Saturday morning and she did! My older brother joined us too. Hooray! I loved it! As soon as we got to the place, the first words that came out of my mouth were “Wow! This is a dream come true!”

IMG_9668

Since it was my first time to go there, I just observed and took photographs of the place and people, while my mom did most of the shopping. We also took our time visiting numerous stalls of fruits, fish, seafood, and vegetables. We weren’t able to go through the meat section though because we didn’t need to buy meat at that time. Nonetheless, I enjoyed our sweaty and stinky Saturday morning at the market. I hope I can visit Farmer’s again soon.

IMG_9704

If you haven’t been to Farmer’s market, here are some of the things that you can expect:

FRESH INGREDIENTS

Having fresh ingredients can do wonders to any dish. My mom bought a kilo of fresh medium-sized shrimps and made “Halabos na Hipon” for dinner that night. Because the shrimps were alive and fresh when we bought them, they had a naturally sweet and juicy flavor after they were cooked. Even my dad and other siblings made a comment about how delicious the shrimps were. That was just one of the many ingredients sold at the market. You could just imagine the crisp heads of cabbages and lettuces, the bright and healthy squash flowers, the plump and red tuna fish displayed on the counters, and many more. Oh, yes! The next time I go to Farmer’s, I have to make sure to buy only the ingredients on my list or else, I might end up splurging on a whole lot of good eats.

IMG_9563

IMG_9608

IMG_9680

IMG_9549

IMG_9633

IMG_9559

AFFORDABLE PRICES

I remember bringing a banana to work with a price tag on it and my colleagues joked about me buying only those fruits and vegetables with brands or those that came from supermarkets. We just laughed about it. But, it got me thinking about my spending habits. I rarely go to the market because we have a supermarket closer to our home. Since it’s more convenient for me, I usually buy raw ingredients there which are more expensive, unfortunately. However, after going to Farmer’s market, I saw the huge difference in the prices compared to those sold in the grocery stores.

IMG_9574

IMG_9590

IMG_9577

IMG_9555

For example, a kilo of orange sweet potato costs Php 40. When we buy this exact kind in the supermarket, it ranges from Php 70-80 per kilo. Another example is the price of shrimps. A kilo of live shrimps in Farmer’s costs around Php 350-400. This is also the same price range of shrimps in the supermarket, but those shrimps aren’t alive anymore. A decade ago, I didn’t really think about the costs of ingredients whenever I would join my mom to her trips to the market. But now, I appreciate buying quality ingredients at the lowest possible prices. I just need to be more intentional in planning when and where to buy the ingredients I need, so I could save more.

IMG_9597

ORGANIZED VENUE

There were four main areas in the market: Flowers/Plants, Fruits/Vegetables, Fish/Seafood, and Meat. Each area had about a hundred stalls. The place was huge! Although it was a bit overwhelming, I enjoyed going through most of them because I saw the various goods sold in the market. The staff members at the market even allowed the customers to borrow steel shopping carts. We just needed to surrender an I.D. This was very helpful for us because we planned to bring home wet seafood and heavy vegetables from the market.

IMG_9614

FotorCreated

IMG_9599

Our first stop was at the fruits and vegetable section. Most of the stalls had the same kinds of vegetables, but there were some with unique ones like squash flowers, kale, cherries, and fresh goat’s milk. At the far left side of the vegetable section, there was a ramp that led us towards the seafood (my favorite part) and meat sections. Passing by each stall was a pleasant experience for me because I appreciated their beautiful displays of fresh goods. It was also fun to watch some of the vendors do their expertise such as removing the scales of fish, neatly trimming heads of lettuce, grinding coconut meat, slicing fish, or sorting seafood in plastic containers filled with water.

IMG_9672

IMG_9566

IMG_9626

IMG_9678

Also, the vendors in the different areas were friendly. When I was taking a photo of a big tuna head in a pail on the floor, one of the vendors picked up the head and held it in the air so I could take a good photo of it. Haha. There was also a time when I was taking photos of the raw meat being chopped and some of the vendors noticed and smiled at the camera! In a way, it was refreshing to see them work so passionately and cheerfully even if it was so early in the morning. When I go back to Farmer’s, I hope I can give them hard copies of their photos and encourage them to keep up the good work!

IMG_9676

IMG_9671

IMG_9687

IMG_9519

IMG_9611

IMG_9540

Overall, I think that Farmer’s market has a good and organized system. There were enough spaces along the aisles; fresh vegetables weren’t directly exposed to bacteria/possible contamination from meat since they were placed on a different floor; and the displays were always neatly arranged.

IMG_9667

IMG_9677

These are just some of the observations I had. Hopefully, I can drop by Farmer’s again to go around the sections for meat and flowers/plants. Maybe I can finally buy a Tuna head and some lobsters too. Hahaha. I can’t wait until my next trip to the Farmer’s!

IMG_9679

IMG_9579

IMG_9545

Note: If ever you’re bringing a car, you may park at the Araneta Coliseum parking since they don’t allow parking beside the market.

Simple Sunday Snack: Lemon-Ginger Fish and Asparagus

I usually don’t delete messages in my mobile phone and I am not sure why. But recently, I was motivated to do so because whenever I would open my inbox or sent items, it would take 5 to 10 seconds to load! I checked the total number of messages and saw that it was already more than 4000. No wonder it constantly lagged. And so, I finally delete all of my messages. All, except one: The oldest message in my phone, which was a video of a cartoon asparagus that was sent to me by my sister.

DSC00113 - Copy

At first, I was hesitant because I had numerous messages (for the past years) that were special. Some of them were encouraging words from family and friends, conversations about funny experiences that I had in the past, and even secrets shared by close buddies. But somehow, I knew that deleting most, if not all, of my messages would give me a fresh start and help me be more productive with the time I spend using my phone.

DSC00063 - Copy

True enough, after deleting a huge bulk of my messages, it took less than a second to load my inbox or sent items. Hooray! It felt so good to not experience delays anymore. I loved it!

DSC00082 - Copy

After a few minutes of enjoying it, I opened the only message that I kept in my phone and watched it again. It was just a simple cartoon video for children, but it had so much truth in it. I watched the asparagus tell God about his day and I was encouraged to do the same too. In the video, you will see that at the end of the day, the asparagus chose to see God’s love for him in everything. And because of this, he was able to find rest and security in Him.

DSC00055 - Copy

Out of all the messages that I had in my phone, I’m glad that I kept this one because it was a great reminder for me to always seek God’s presence, to go back to the truth (the Bible), and find rest in who He is, no matter what happens.

Thank you, Veggie Tales, for this heartwarming video!

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” [Romans 15:13]

Looking forward to resting in God’s presence this week! :)

DSC00045 - Copy

Simple Sunday Snack:

Grilled Ginger-Lemon Fish with Steamed Asparagus

5 or more sticks of raw Asparagus

Raw Fish fillet (1/4 kilo)

Half of a lemon (or more)

Salt and Pepper

2 tbsp. of grated ginger

2 minced cloves of garlic

Paprika

Olive oil

Fresh herbs (a few leaves of basil or oregano)

DSC00095 - Copy

Steps:

  1. In a bowl, place the raw fish, juice of half of a lemon, grated ginger, herbs, and minced garlic. (Optional: pinch of paprika). Mix and set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Brush or sprinkle your pan/grill with olive oil and when it’s ready, add salt & pepper to the fish just before you cook them.
  3. Steam asparagus for 3-4 minutes until they have a bright green color. After steaming, set aside, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and drizzle lemon juice on them.
  4. Enjoy the grilled fish with crisp and juicy asparagus sticks while they’re still hot.

DSC00109 - Copy

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

The Squid Ate a Fish

“Aaahh! Guess what?! The squid ate a fish! The squid ate a fish!!” I ran around the house with a lifeless, baby fish on my hand and told my family about the awesome moment I had with mom.

While I was helping her prepare our dinner last night, she casually told me that she found a baby fish in the belly of the squid. Before I could even react, she immediately threw the fish in the trash bowl near her. “Mom! Why’d you throw it away?” I said. “Hahaha. I want to see it!”

DSC088220

So, she got the fish and placed it on my hand… and I couldn’t believe it. It was amazing!!! I was so amused by it that I had to tell everyone about it. I went back to the kitchen with the baby fish and asked mom why she wasn’t surprised or excited about it.

She told me that it wasn’t her first time to see a fish in a squid. And when I asked her how many times this happened before, she couldn’t give me an estimate. They were too many to count.

“What?? Hahaha. That’s funny. I’ve never seen a fish in the bellies of the squids I’ve cleaned before. This is so cooool, mom.” I replied.

DSC088160

That simple moment with my mom reminded me of the privilege of freely spending time with my parents and learning from their experiences and wisdom. They know so much more than I do — and even if I, sometimes, am tempted to think that they don’t, I trust that God will continue to work in and through them as they speak to me and lead me. Besides, God doesn’t make mistakes and He certainly didn’t make a mistake in choosing them as my parents and making me their daughter.

Proverbs 1:8 – “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

DSC088180

If I didn’t spend time with mom in the kitchen last night, I would have missed out on a rare opportunity: to see a baby fish in the belly of a squid. Woohoo! But, God allowed it to happen and I really enjoyed it! By His grace, I pray that I will continuously make an effort to spend time with my folks as much as I can. :)

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” –Exodus 20:12

folks

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)