One of the things I love about living in Costa Rica is the profusion of fresh fruits and vegetables you can get, and at very low prices compared to North America.
In my little mountain coffee town of Atenas, Costa Rica, we have a long-standing tradition of a Friday Farmers’ Market. Called a “feria” in Spanish, this is the place to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, baked goods, dairy products and meats, plants and herbs – just like in many other countries.
At the end of August, the Farmers’ Market changed location and got an upgrade. Once spread around the edge of a small park by the Central Elementary School in the center of town, the new Farmers’ Market has now relocated to the radial road connecting Atenas to Highway 27 (the main highway from San Jose to the Central Pacific Coast). The new locale is quite capacious with open sides and a cavernous permanent roof – in the past vendors suffered under tents and tarps in the rain or blistering summer sun. The floor is smooth, clean concrete, and there are two little lunch counters and modern public restrooms. A free bus shuttles shoppers back and forth to the center of town (5 minutes) every hour.
On a recent Friday morning, mounds of mangoes, melons, watermelon, pineapples and a myriad of other fruits juicily beckoned buyers. Crisp lettuces, spinach and other greens glistened with water droplets. Fat potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, yucca and carrots heaped in pyramids. The flower man was doing brisk business cutting stems and wrapping up bright yellow sunflowers, lilies, Gerbera daisies, and a rainbow of other flowers.
The herb man sat in his aromatic stall surrounded by cooking and medicinal herbs in packets, bunches and plants. The back corner of the market looked like a mini-nursery with the amount of potted flowers and starter trees on sale. Just past, gleaming glass cases proudly presented fresh meats, cheeses and fish. And who could pass up the sweet frosted cinnamon buns, fresh breads, and tempting pies and cookies of “Buen Pan, Tomas!” bakery run by Atenas residents Tom and Jan Yatsko, from Pennsylvania.
Whether you are just visiting Atenas in one of the many vacation homes, or have already moved to Costa Rica, the Atenas Friday Farmers’ Market is a fun way to spend an hour or two and soak up the local culture. The market is open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Fridays.
Live in Atenas, Costa Rica
Looking to buy real estate in Costa Rica? The small country town of Atenas has been named a top place to retire and is renowned for its great climate. Reliable realtors Dennis Easters and Gerardo Gonzalez-Porras of Pure Life Development of Atenas specialize in Atenas homes for sale and home rentals.
Article by Shannon Farley