Kale in Quito? It isn’t exactly a well-known vegetable in South America, much less Ecuador. But for those craving these trendy greens, I have some good news. There is a small organic farm, Finca Orgánica Chaupi Molino, that not only grows kale but sells it in Quito on Friday mornings in La Floresta and in Cumbaya on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. They also sell gorgeous bright orange carrots, slender white leeks, a myriad of lettuces, tender baby cauliflowers, broccoli greener than any in the local store, and a selection of fresh herbs ranging from easy to find dill to harder to find quality cilantro. That latter might need some explanation for those of you who haven’t lived in Quito; cilantro at the average grocery store is more frond and stem than it is leaves. Finca Orgánica Chaupi Molino brings fat bundles of perfect cilantro to market. Warm weather veggies show up as well including a yellow zucchini that is tastily sweet and tomatoes that ripen very well if left on a sunny counter in the kitchen. The last few weeks the farm has also offered delicious strawberries, tinier than the ones found elsewhere and twice as delicious. If you want kale, however, you need to arrive early. You’ll notice that there isn’t any in my pictures because the market had been going for two hours and all types of kale were sold out.
This farm, or finca, stands out not just because it grows and sells kale but because it is working to create a new farming culture in Ecuador. The farm has been in existence for over thirty years. The owner, Francisco Gangotena, has degrees in farming and agriculture from the United States and returned to Ecuador in order to prove that it is completely possible to grow fruits and vegetables without chemicals. His philosophy not only includes protecting the soil but strengthening the ties between the campesinos and their land. If you would love to learn more about this farm and practice your Spanish listening skills, Ama la Vida has produced this excellent video about the farm:
If you would like to support this farm by making purchases of their excellent products, including jams, jellies, fresh cheese and yogurt, arepas, etc. etc., as well as fresh produce, then get yourself to the nearest market:
La Floresta – Fridays from 9am-12noon (The Outdoor Farmer’s Market, Quiteño Style).
CC La Esquina in Cumbaya – Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8am-12noon.