El Pescadero’s Saturday Farmers Market
Expats and locals mingle under the mango trees
El Pescadero’s Farmers Market is in a wide lot shaded by mango trees. Pat, the Canadian expat who told me about the Saturday market, knows everyone, and points out some people I should talk to: Jimmy, a spear fisherman who gives out free samples of his smoked fish, and Kayle, who “everyone knows,” the owner of Basil Farms, which Pat once worked for.
The market stalls—a majority of them selling jewelry and art—end where the Baja Beans patio begins, a popular cafe where expats sit and sip coffee and listen to live music.
A woman sells dried herbs, including neem, also known as “The Village Pharmacy Tree,” and moringa, both of which are natural remedies for a broad spectrum of ailments, as well as homemade energy crackers filled with nuts and seeds.
Jimmy moved from California 16 years ago to make a living spearfishing. He goes out every Friday to fish, stays up the entire night to smoke it, and brings it to the market the next day. The rest of his life seems to involve little worry. Just a few packets of smoked marlin are left, but their $20 price tag keeps me from taking them home. I sample some and it is very good. Fish prints on fabric flutter in the wind along the perimeter of Jimmy’s booth. “I never touch up the original print,” he says. “What you see is exactly how it was printed.” He offers to show me local beaches that will “sweep you off your feet,” and I take down his number for another day.
I also stop to talk with Kayle, who tells me he’s spent time in Santa Cruz, California, where I live now. He shares some memories of his time there and throws a few extra tomatoes into my bag. Kayle also sells fresh squeezed juice from his cooler: tangerine, grapefruit, and a carrot and beet—and they are all so good. They each cost 50 pesos($2.70). Back home, a juice like this goes for around $7 at Whole Foods.