Horizon at Sandy Point

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

To market to market

Market day! Get up early to beat traffic. The prize was an early selection of the best fresh food. Walk with big baskets and your own plastic bags. Even from the outside - just to find parking - the big central market in Port of Spain is abustle with colourful characters, loud, lively and smelly. With my father - the discriminating food shopper - we would walk from the "greens" market, to the meat, to the fish, and most likely back again. Later in life, he bought from specific vendors who would keep what he wanted. But every so often, he would cruise the aisles as though it was an entirely new adventure.

Even when his immediate family had dwindled, market shopping was a weekly ritual. Most of us fell out of the habit: my sister because she thought she would expire from the fishy smells; and others because it was too much to feed a family of two or three. From the central market you would take home grandiose proportions of everything. Simpler to get just what you needed from the nearest supermarket.

Today, the pendulum is swinging back, and market style shopping is once more fashionable. But for different reasons. Lots of big cities are attracting markets back to their neighborhoods. I've shopped in street markets in Santa Monica California, in Brisbane Australia, and in France, Italy and England. What we are realising about these markets is how they are empowering entrepreneurs, reinstating the relationship between the producer and the purchaser, and expanding tastes for different fresh food and varieties of standard fare. Not to mention elevating standards of quality and flavour!

Baskets of Wasamaki roots

Fresh flowers from Wasamaki

UpMarket is a specialty market that is open on the first Saturday every month. The venue is the Woodbrook Youth Facility on Hamilton Holder Street (near the National Stadium) in Port of Spain. It opens at 9 or 9.30 am. The array of goods, not to mention the people and their skills, indicates that there's scope for new markets up and down our country.

Clothing racks in the back of the market
Here are some of the things that piqued my interest in 45 minutes on Saturday. I would have liked to taste the home-made cheeses and the ice cream, picked up some pesto and sampled more of the interesting condiments. I went away with two large samaan platters, delicious biscotti and a bottle of pepper infused salt - Perfect Fire Salt. Here are some of the other treasures captured on camera.

Soaps and palm bark bowls from Surinam

Philip Arthur and his woodware

The Perfect Pepper range from Leesa Reize

Home grown and home made
Most interesting was the table of sculptures made from salavaged metal pieces. But where was the craftsman? By the time we left, he had not yet arrived.

Village made from metal pieces.

Do you see the three boltheads rowing the boat that bounces on a single spring?

An enterprising panman providing soothing sounds
and selling his CD collections!


  1. ...interesting,...will it be on when I'm there??

  2. Upmarket takes place on the first Saturday of each month.