Lots of foreigners and Colombians alike, claim that Colombia has the best produce. And while it’s true that the soil here is incredible fertile and they have amazing varieties of fruits and veggies here, most of it is full of pesticides. Don’t trust me? Try picking up one of the tomatoes at your local supermarket. If it feels like it has a sticky, clear, shiny “coating” – then you can be 100% sure that it is covered with poison. The same goes for pears and apples – really anything that you would eat without peeling it first. While I’m not a fanatic, I do like the idea of eating as clean and pure as possible, and as a father, I always try to make sure my little girls eat the very best. I know some people say that it has not been proven (yet), that pesticides are harmful to humans. I’m no scientist, but try checking out little Louise’s “Potato Project” and then make up your own mind. Eating organic makes sense to me.
Since arriving in Cali, I’ve been keeping an eye out for organic products, because they are very hard to find. Some of the La14 supermarkets and also SuperA have a limited assortment of organics, but not quite the selection that we have in my home country, where discount- and luxury supermarkets have joined the organic movement, and consumers happily pay a premium for the products. In Cali I’ve been asking around, but no one seemed to be able to point me in the right direction. Until I ate at Frutos del Sol, the organic, vegetarian restaurant, where I asked the owner where he gets his produce from.
Asoproorganicos – Organic farmers market in Cali
Is probably the best place in Cali to buy your groceries if you are into organics. Lots of local farmers bringing organic fruits, vegetables, cereals, quinoa, bread, cakes, cookies, ketchup, hot-sauces, marmelades, honey, free-range chickens and organic eggs, coffee, peanutbutter, almond butter, sesame seed paste, cheeses, antipastos, natural oils, flour, vinegar, plant-based pomades, flowers, sugars.. and the list goes on.
There is a certain charm to walking a farmers market, chatting with the local farmers, while smelling and feeling the produce. Also, in Colombia you will probably see at least a dozen exotic fruits that you have never seen before – and in Cali they are usually happy to let you taste them before you buy any.
The downside is of course that there are usually no fixed prices, and if you have no clue about what something should cost, then you could end up paying too much. Before buying anything at an open market I’d recommend asking different vendors for prices. I must say though, that I found the prices to be very fair. Most fruits, berries and veggies cost around $1.500-2.000 pesos a pound (US$0.75). Organic coconut oil was $18.000 pesos (US$7), organic peanutbutter $8.000 pesos (US$4) and the organic coffee that I got was $6.000 pesos (US$3) for half a pound.
The market takes place every Saturday from 5am to 1pm. on the CVC parking lot in Barrio Guadalupe in Cali. It’s at the intersection of carrera 57 with calle 11. Come early – I went at 11am and a lot of the good stuff was already gone. To stay up to date with the market check out their official facebook page. If you know of any other places to buy organics, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
BTW, I find the best way to clean my non-organic fruits and veggies, is with a spray bottle filled with a 1:3 vinegar to water ratio. Spray, rub and rinse with water from the faucet.