Market Day in San Miguel

posted in: Family and Friends, Mexico | 0

Everyday is “market day”in San Miguel. There are markets all over the city and they are a feast for the eyes, the nose, and the mouth. Saturday is a special day– Tianguis Organico de San Miguel de Allende (TOSMA) is the open air organic market. Tianguis means open air market or bazaar.

The banner declares that TOSMA,  Tianguis Organic Market of San Miguel de Allende, is open and ready.

Every Saturday, about 40-50 organic traders congregate with their organic produce including breads and cakes, fruit and vegetables, condiments, chocolates, cacti, and herbs. In addition to edible items there are tables and displays of hand-embroidered pillowcases and table cloths, beautiful rugs, paintings, crafts, jewelry and more.

After you walk through the alleyway flanked on both sides with vendors selling crafts, you step into this tented area.
Food vendors surround the tables – so many choices!!

People sat together at the long tables in the outer shaded area, enjoying coffee, breakfast, lunch and a variety of sweet treats from the many vendors. The atmosphere in the Tianguis Organico was calm and relaxing, people meandered around chatting with sellers and relaxing in the shady seating area. Musicians take turns playing, adding to the  enjoyment of  the local foods and beverages. What a perfect way to begin a Saturday!

We started by sharing a breakfast of huevos rancheros, good, but not what I was expecting – tortilla topped with refried beans, salsa verde and fried eggs, but no cheese or red salsa.
Have to try more of the culinary delights – While Al opted for a donut, I decided to try an empanada filled with spinach and cotija (a Mexican cheese) with a green sauce on the side. The young couple making the empanadas were so sweet and their empanada was delish!!
The interior of the market was another large space filled with produce, tables and more wares.
Fruits, vegetables, breads, condiments fill the interior part of the Tianguis Organica. Again -so many choices!
An entire wall was covered with an array of hanging and stacked colorful woven rugs. I would have loved to get a rug, but shipping it home would have probably obliterated any savings.
An artist’s display of her watercolors.

I found myself wandering back to the watercolor artist’s table. Her work was so delicate. In the end, I could not resist – I bought a small unframed watercolor painting of a hummingbird. Easy to pack!

This little hummingbird will always remind me of the rooftop terrace at Casa Garza and of Sam and Kayda who showed us the joy of watching the tiny creatures.

Leaving the Tianguis Organica, we wandered past another outdoor market and stopped in there, too. Why not?

Another “tianguis” tucked into a narrow space off the street.
A large puppet figure stood at the entrance to this market. She graciously allowed us to take a photo with her.

This day was becoming “Souvenir Saturday”, although I dislike the term “souvenir.” I prefer the word  mementos of a special time and visit.

Three pairs of silver earrings for 235 pesos total, not each. Everywhere we went I seemed to find something. Long after the travels are over, special items from special places spark a memory and a smile when my eyes fall upon them.

We also stopped at Camino Silvestre, a garden store, where Sam and Kayda had found the little glass hummingbird feeder. It is a beautiful store with an amazing variety of hummingbird feeders, outdoor garden decorations, and interior décor.

Camino Silvestre, known for its  in-house-designed colibri (hummingbird) feeders.
We will have to wait for spring and summer to see this colibri feeder in action.

Yes, I bought a small blue glass hummingbird feeder, just a single one. (250 pesos) There were double feeders, triples and multi-tiered ones. I think this one will look nice on our deck; certainly much better than the $3 red plastic Ocean State Job Lot version we hung last summer.

Two mercados (markets) done, two more to go………….. for this day.  Al and I continued our day of markets by walking back to the other side of the city. On our first day in SMA, Sam and Kayda had taken us to two markets just beyond El Jardin.

The little red X (in yellow box) is on Casa Garza.  Our morning was spent at TOSMA (Tianguis Organico), labeled in green on the lower left. Our afternoon markets were  at the top center of the map – Mercado Ignatius Ramirez and Mercado Artesanias. We took a taxi home. 😉

Our walking route took us through El Jardin, behind Plaza Civica (where the statue of Ignacio de Allende stands, on Colegio.

We passed by this truck on a back street. Hmmmm, would you buy your lettuce here???

You could easily pass right by the entrance to Mercado Ignatius Ramirez, an old world style of  grocery market where locals and expats shop, because it is nearly hidden from sight. But once you turn in and step down the stairs you are stunned by an explosion of colors, sounds, and smells (and it is far more encouraging and enticing than the lettuce truck outside.)

Sam ponders the vegetables which looked amazing.
Piñatas above and produce in the bins below.
All kinds of legumes and grains.

After wandering aimlessly (literally) through the produce and foods, we eventually came upon a different market, connected, but different – Mercado de Artesanias (The Artisan Market).  There were stalls displaying anything and everything, hanging high and piled on shelves– jewelry, metallic lamps and decorations cut from tin, rugs, household, textiles, clothing, hats, toys, paintings and more. Lots more.

It was so overwhelming, I didn’t know where to look!

After much deliberation, I decided that a few  pieces of the hand-painted, traditional Mexican ceramics would be a suitable memento. The color and design is impossible to resist. If the suitcase was bigger……………

Two mugs and three small bowls for 320 pesos. The vendor carefully wrapped it all in old newspaper. Take a look at the paper – just can’t escape that man. 🙁

The market continues down some steps through a passageway with stalls on either side, winding through the narrow streets until you come out at the main road on the other side.

The Mercado de Artisanas stretches on and on, down some stairs to another alley.
More and more artists selling their work on narrow alleys that were not open to vehicles.

Eventually we left the narrow tented alleys  to emerge again on the other side, outdoors.

Exploring the many markets was one of my favorite pastimes during our stay, and that Saturday was especially fun and full of Mexican “flavor.” A whole day of shopping and I spent less than $50  US on my mementos for the entire trip. What’s more, I love each one. They will be a tangible memory of this amazing visit to San Miguel de Allende.

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