Today was a busy day for me. I had to wake up early to do my cousin’s make-up for her graduation from college, I had to prepare lasagna as my contribution to the graduation part, and attend a highschool classmate’s wedding. In between these activities, I had to squeeze in time this morning to check out Cebu Farmers Market. I love it and I instantly wish I live a walkable distance from the market. I learned of the market just days ago but I was super anticipating it — because it is a dream come true for me. In my hometown, in Lazi, Siquijor, we have access to fresh organic farm produce through our local TESDA school and through small farmers. My father raises chicken (which are free range) and we get our occasional eggs from these chickens, although my family is not a big egg eater (which is really a good thing because we allow most eggs to hatch and grow into chickens). We also have easy access to cows and pigs fed with grains, vegetables and fruits. We also buy fresh fish or receive gifts of fresh fish from our resident fisherman on a daily basis.
The city, where I stay for most of the year, is a different story. While I have easy access to a lot more food choices via groceries and supermarkets compared to the province, I have no idea where most of the things I buy from the supermarket come from, which scares me. I am not a saint nor a paranoid when it comes to food and food choices but every day I remind myself that I deserve only the best in life. The best does not necessarily mean the most expensive, especially when it comes to food. The best though means zero chemicals to my body. We are all going to die, I know, but it is my hope not to be admitted to a hospital even once in my lifetime (hard feat, but that record is not yet broken as of the date of this writing) so that any money I have worked hard for would not go to physicians, laboratories, hospitals and (most especially) pharmaceutical companies, and would instead be spent on travels, well-being, and family.
The Cebu Farmers Market, which will happen every Saturday at Handuraw in Lahug, Cebu City, is a much-welcome activity in the city. This morning, I bought empanadas (P15 each), soya meat (P50 for half a kilo), eggless pancit canton with malunggay (P50) and ground flax (P135) from Grace Homemade Health and Wellness Foodies; banana and carrot muffins (P10 each) from Ananda Marga Yoga Center; lemon basil or sanib (P20 bunch, P50 plant), tarragon (free!), dill (P20 bunch), Chinese pechay (P60 per kilo), sayote (P30 per kilo) from Sergio’s Farm; Spanish sardines (P90 a bottle) and eggplants (P40 per kilo) from NatFamCo; and baguio beans (P50 per kilo), upo (P25 piece), kalamansi juice (P15 per bottle) and chocolate carabao’s milk (P45 per bottle) from Cambugsay Farm.
NatFamco also sells organic pork (adobo cut, ground, soup bones) and cured pork products (bacon, longganisa, tocino), free range chicken and eggs. I paid P900 for 1 kilo ground pork, 1 kilo adobo cut pork, 1.1 kilos dressed whole chicken, and 1 dozen free range eggs.
I am pro-organic, pro-sustainable, and pro-GMO-free farming and eating. I hope that doesn’t sound too “elitist” or “OA” as there is a misconception that buying and eating organic and all-natural is expensive. IT ISN’T!! Living in Cebu is a blessing, when it comes to food accessibility, because organic and GMO-free produce is not too expensive for a thrifty solo-living individual such as myself. It’s not even beyond the means of budget-conscious families as the farms are nearer to the city, and the farm-to-market roads have enormously improved in the last decade, which means farmers do not shell out so much to pay for transportation. I would wish more independent farmers and growers participate in the event, and more people also shop for their week’s consumption from the market. I believe that what we give to the earth, the earth gives back to us — if we give the earth crap (such as GMO plants and chemical fertilizers, which kill plants, insects, and the soil), expect the earth to give back crap. Planting/growing organic and buying/eating organic is definitely a win-win for everybody.
UPDATE as of Sept. 2016 — The Farmers’ Market is now located at Vibo Place, Escario St.