Monday, May 19, 2014

Atenas Market vs. Grecia Market, Ferias of Costa Rica

Today my blog is about the differences in the market in Atenas vs. the market in Grecia, in Espanola, the ferias. When we moved to Grecia a few months ago, we had heard mixed reviews about the local feria, like with everything, many people are biased. After living in Atenas for 1 year, we find ourselves comparing everything, which, we are not supposed to do, but we do it anyway. So here are the major differences we have noticed thus far, and, keep in mind we have only lived in Grecia for 2 months, so we are no experts.

Atenas Feria - Friday mornings, the earlier, the better until mid afternoon

  • open air 
  • surrounding a park with parking on street
  • 1 long line from start to finish
  • only 1 or 2 cookeries selling breakfast foods
  • jugo natural (fresh juice) truck
  • mostly fresh food, fruits & veges
  • 1 fishmonger
  • 1 butcher
  • a few trinket vendors selling everything from wood carvings to purses to plastic toys
  • a few clothing vendors selling everything from tshirts to pajamas to bras (kids and adults)
  • a few florists selling fresh cut flowers to planted plants to herbs, cut and potted
  • sometimes there was music
  • fresh breads and bakery with desserts
  • a few coffee vendors, sometimes with fresh nuts
  • 1 - 2 fresh dairies, yogurts, cheeses


Grecia Feria - Friday 2pm til well after dark and Saturdays early til 1pm

  • completely covered 
  • not in a park, but larger with cement ground and plenty of parking spaces within facility
  • 8 rows of vendors (4 with vendors on both sides) and a row of clothing vendors
  • several sodas cooking typical food, several ceviche vendors
  • smoothie vendor (excellent, mine was papaya, mango, pinapple, cucumber) $2 large
  • larger diversity of fresh foods, fruits & veges
  • 3 or 4 fishmongers
  • 3 or 4 butchers
  • 1 huge row full of clothes, socks, shoes, hats, trinkets, everything for kids and adults
  • herbs, flowers, plants, similar to Atenas selections
  • no music
  • fresh breads and bakeries with desserts, more variety
  • a few coffee vendors, sometimes with fresh nuts
  • 1 - 2 fresh dairies, yogurts, cheeses, more variety than Atenas
So now that my boring lists are complete, I will sum up the major differences. Grecia offers shopping carts for rent for $1.40 US, not in Atenas, we overloaded our stroller and carried the babies. For some reason, I have found BELL PEPPERS in Grecia, NOT in Atenas - Red, Yellow, Green bell peppers. For some reason, I have found ICEBERG LETTUCE in Grecia, NOT in Atenas. I also noticed the sizes of vegetables varied in Grecia. There were small beets and large beets. In Atenas, there is only 1 size beet, GRANDE. Many of the fruits and vegetables in Grecia ranged in color and size, where in Atenas, they all look about the same, equally fresh. You can get ceviche in Atenas, just not at the market. I bought 3 cups of ceviche in the Grecia market for $6 US and it was delicious, not sure why no one sold it in Atenas Market, I would have bought it there too. If you are too late in Grecia on Saturday, they give large bags of food, even if you do not want it, they give stuff away and it is only half a day less fresh, no big deal, BUT, the selection dwindles and we have had a hard time finding jalapenos in Grecia. Atenas Feria also highlights the local animal shelter  with adoptions available for dogs, cats and sometimes rabbits accepting donations: money, clothing and books and toys. 
SO - in no way am I saying I like one feria to another. I happen to love both. They both offer an excellent variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and you can arrive hungry at either and have hot or cold options with drinks. We have even said hello to a few vendors who recognized us from Atenas. We plan to sell our Beef Jerky in both ferias as soon as our permit is approved, so we can get our favorite things from both cities. It is easy to see that the Atenas feria is smaller since the town is smaller and many vendors remember your name and how much you usually buy. Grecia is much larger with a little more anonymity, allowing you to branch out and try some new fruits and veges, with a little more variety. For 1 year, I thought you could not get bell peppers or iceberg lettuce in Costa Rica, but now I know it was just in Atenas. There is also an Organic Market in Grecia that we are getting the scoop about, we hear it is cheaper too. I will let you know how it goes. Pura Vida!

4 comments:

  1. Looking forward to trying your beef jerky in Grecia...

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  2. Melaney, we are currently in 1 store in San Isidro de Grecia and have an appointment next week to be in Rosvil and Peri. Wish us luck.

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  3. Enjoyed your comparison of the two farmer markets. What is the application process for the Grecia market and who do I contact? Thanks.

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    1. Hi Jackie, thanks for following our adventures. You have to go to the Department of Agriculture (Ministerio de Agricultura) actually in Atenas. Depending on your product, they will give you a list of prerequisites to follow. After submitting all, the committee meets once per month and then you can be approved to sell in all the ferias (any) Good Luck! Pura Vida!

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