Fall in Yucatán is a season of cultural significance and it evokes images of the Milpa, Hanal Pixán, and other icons of autumn. We can experience these regional traditions at the municipal markets where many local products are bought and sold.
In October, a visit to the markets is an absolute must if you’re looking for Atole Nuevo, new corn, artisanal Recados, Espelón, incense, wildflowers, traditional sweets, Calabaza Local (a regional variety of squash), Jícaras, or locally-produced honey. These are just some of the items found on a Yucatecan altar for Hanal Pixán, and you won’t find them at big box stores.
But, it’s not just about practicality and having a one-stop-shop for all your dearly departed’s needs. We can’t forget the ethical and environmental reasons for shopping at a market, not just during Hanal Pixán, but year-round.
When we do our shopping at the market, we have the opportunity to reduce our use of plastic and packaging. Vendors will happily put fruits and vegetables directly into your Sabucán and will place any meat you purchase into containers if you bring them along. They will also tuck tortillas in cloth napkins or Lecs to keep them nice and warm until lunchtime.
Aside from being the best place to get your seasonal fruits and vegetables, you’ll have the opportunity to support small local businesses instead of multinational companies. Just one trip to the market can directly benefit a number of vendors, farmers, and producers. If you become a regular and treat them with the kindness and respect they deserve, they’ll repay you by tracking down products and heirloom varieties that aren’t always easily available. Our interest and consumption is essential to maintaining food diversity and ensuring that certain plant species survive.
During the new normal, the city of Mérida created an app for market vendors called Mi Mercado Móvil. You won’t find all your favorite sellers on there yet, but more are added daily.
Above all, markets are a place to remember and revitalize our local produce and cuisine, support fair trade, and provide financial stability to many families. But we all have to do our part and use these spaces, keeping them alive for future generations.
Editorial by Maggie Rosado
See who’s on Mi Mercado Móvil
Add these markets to your itinerary
Mercado Lucas de Gálvez, Calle 56-A x 65 y 67, Centro, Mérida
Mercado de Santos Degollado, Calle 57 x 70, Centro, Mérida
Mercado Municipal 20 de Noviembre, Motul
Mercado Municipal, Valladolid
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