Today we are commonly faced with daily decisions about what to eat, where our food comes from, and how it got to our table. Thankfully dedicated individuals and persistent purchasers are helping to build more sustainable practices in big cities. Madrid is a perfect example of such a city in agricultural transition.
The motto of the monthly event Dia de Mercado is "Madrid Cultiva y Produce" or Madrid cultivates and produces. It's not only a place to buy your groceries, but a celebration of the artisans and producers of the goods that the city is offered and eats, and of the men, women, landscapes and animals behind that production- a meet and greet of locals, suppliers, citizens and agrarians.
Every first Saturday of each month since June of 2011, Madrid's community has met at the Farmers' Union of Madrid, or the Cámara Agraria de la Comunidad de Madrid. It's an outstanding opportunity to learn about the local products of your region and begin a relationship with your suppliers. I personally got a huge buzz from watching people passionate about their craft and merchandise mingle with the public and offer first-hand ingredients of superior quality and taste.
My friend, Juan Luis Royuela of Royuela Cheese Company and La Cabezuela, was one of the founding partners in this initiative and has watched it grow to include some fifty vendors and a packed-crowd of buyers from 10am til 3pm. This last weekend that we visited him he sold out of his inventory - so come early! You can basically find everything you will need for your weekly shopping list at the event, including: fruits and vegetables, dried legumes, meats, fresh and preserved fish, dairy products, breads, even craft beers and wines.
Fresh and local products from Madrid- I walked away from the Dia de Mercado a very happy camper!
Quesos La Cabezuela - all natural dairy products made from milk of the Guadarrama goat (cabra del Guadarrama), an indigenous mountain species in the Sierra of Madrid
Alimentos de Miraflores - handcrafted cheeses from sheep and goat's milk
LA FINCA de Jiménez Barbero - producers of high quality meat products from ethical treated steer, cattle and calves (carne de buey, vaca)
Posito - a cooperative since 1931 producing EVOO primarily from manzanilla olives
El Árbol del Pan - variety of breads made exclusively from organic flour from Spain
Chocolate Natural San Lázaro - artisan chocolate makers in the town of Rascafría
De ARRÉN - hailing from the northern mountain region of Madrid, aside from wine they also offer olive oils and garbanzo beans
Bodegas Andrés Díaz- their winery and vineyards are located in the south eastern part of Madrid's province
Fresh herbs for planting as well as ecological seeds from Hortiaroma Bio. Very friendly and knowledgeable staff. Imagine if all us city folks had gardens on our balconies or windowsills!
A welcome environment for all walks of life.
Cakes, Muffins and traditional Spanish treats. Mantecados, magdalenas, y bizcochos.
Beekeeper Luis Escudero of La Abeja Meli - ecological production of honey in the northern Sierra of Madrid. You can find his products here or at the Dia de Mercado.
Pastries and sweets made from organic ingredients and without yeast. Pictured here, poppy seed and orange tart from Horno de Lozoya. Also visit them at their tea room/bakery/shop/production facility in Lozoya.
When to go:
First Saturday of every month
Dia de Mercado
Free entry. Entrada gratuita.
Cámara Agraria de la Comunidad de Madrid
Paseo Puerta del Ángel 4