A small Farmers Market with a big punch!…Wow!…

This is, by far, the largest carrot we’ve ever seen. We couldn’t stop laughing over the size of this!

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Last night’s violent thunderstorm was one of the worst we’ve seen.  Check out our video from the veranda.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, we were out the door by 7:00 am to get to the Atenas Farmers Market which is highly regarded by locals, expats, and tourists who have the opportunity to spend time in this cozy community.

Check out the size of these radishes!

Although the market wasn’t huge like Rusty’s Market in Cairns Australia, the largest we’ve ever seen, it was diverse in a way that piqued our curiosity as well as sending us on a shopping spree to partake and savor many of the fine products offered by local farmers and vendors.

There’s something magical about visiting farmers’ markets throughout the world. It gives us an inside view of the foods the locals consider most likely to provide them with sales but also indicates those products they use in their day-to-day lives. 

These, too, are some of the enormous carrots we’ve seen.  The others in the bin are typical full-sized carrots.

Indeed, some of the non-food items, mostly local crafts and handmade goods, are expensive and often rightfully so, based on the quality workmanship and attention to detail we often see exhibited. 

The produce, both fruits, and vegetables are reasonably priced. We purchased a wide array of food items from quail eggs (a first for us), to homemade Italian sausage. 

CRC 1000 is equivalent to US $1.75. Prices are very reasonable at the Atenas Farmers Market and the organic products are excellent. We’ll be returning every Friday morning from here on.

Lately, as mentioned, with Tom finding he can eat fruit without gaining weight or suffering ill effects (lucky Tom), we purchased apples, bananas, and watermelon. 

We hadn’t purchased a watermelon since living in the US. Once he finishes the cut pineapple that’s in the fridge, I’ll cut and seed the watermelon for him. Much to our delight, this villa has numerous large Tupperware-type containers that will work perfectly. 

Many local farmers bottle their own products such as this spicy sauce and bottles of honey (to the right).

Unlike the US, none of the watermelon grown is seedless. Whenever I’ve cut watermelon with seeds, I’ve permanently removed every source, which I’ll do again. The hard part will be to avoid snacking on it while preparing it for Tom. Indeed, my mouth will be watering over the watermelon although I won’t take as much as a taste.

There are 18 grams of sugar is one typical sized slice of watermelon, equivalent to 4.5 teaspoons of sugar, with 21 grams of carbohydrates. When consumed, the body doesn’t perceive the fructose in the fruit any differently than it would if one downed the sugar it contains in teaspoons. Research is now coming to the forefront to substantiate these facts about the dangers of sugar in any form, fruit and starches included—enough about that.

The last time we saw dragon fruit was in Australia. 

As we walked through the rows in the farmers market before we put anything into our grocery cart, we had a hard time deciding where we’d purchase such items as tomatoes, lettuce and purple onions. Each stand looked lush and ripe with its variety of succulent produce. 

It was easy to determine that the produce was organic when we discovered bugs and worms as we handled the products when making our selections.  Also, the uneven shapes and sizes further exemplified that few, if any chemicals were used in growing these products. They reminded me other organic produce we’ve purchased from farmers in countries throughout the world.

These red beets are enormous.  I love beets but they contain too much sugar for my way of eating.

Back “home” a few hours later, with Isabel still here engaged in her usual cleaning frenzy, we monopolized the kitchen while we washed, prepared and bagged the clean produce. 

We always eyeball the baked goods but never purchase any.  These buns looked delicious.

She usually cleans the kitchen last so we had plenty of time to get everything under control and put away. I chopped tomatoes, lettuce, and purple onion for last night’s taco salad dinner. 

Within an hour we were done in the kitchen allowing time to finish posting yesterday’s story and photos and uploading it close to our usual time. I’d prepared part of it prior to leaving the house making the completion easy and less time-consuming.

These red hairy-looking fruits are rambutan. Atop the rambutan is an adorably decorated squash.

This morning at 10:00 am we’re meeting the car rental guy at Supermercado Coopeatenas, to drop off car #1. Afterward, we’ll arrange a taxi to return us to the villa where we’ll be stranded over the weekend. On Monday, we’ll take a cab to San Jose to pick up car #2 which we’ll keep for our remaining time in Costa Rica.

Tom checked out the cafe in the Farmers Market.  He’s always on the lookout for donuts.

So far, after last night’s wild thunderstorm, the sun is shining and the day is lovely. May you have a sunny and bright day!

Photo from one year ago today, August 26, 2016:

Chalong Bay in Phuket.  For more Thailand photos as we wound down our time in the country, please click here.

Continuing photos from visit to Zoo Ave in Costa Rica…Off to Friday morning Farmers Market…Back tomorrow with photos…

This was a first for us, seeing red bananas, which are supposedly sweeter than yellow bananas.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

We were in awe of this view from the veranda when the afternoon clouds roll in each day.

This morning at 7:00 am, we took off for the Atenas Friday Farmers Market. A few weeks ago, we attempted to visit the market in the early afternoon, only to discover the times posted online were incorrect. Its correct hours of operation are from 6:00 am, closing at 1:00 pm, Fridays only.

We’d heard this was a familiar spot to meet ex-pats and locals;  buy produce, flowers, and spices, and get the natural feel of the energy of this small town with a population of about 5,000, with 27,000 in the entire district of Atenas.

Isabel and I couldn’t figure out what type of fruit this is.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with photos from the Atenas Farmers Market. Although we’d grocery shopped on Tuesday, purchasing most of our needed produce and other items, we made a list of a few things we’d buy at the market to last over the weekend until we shop again for next week. 

We hope to redo our grocery shopping day to Fridays, enabling us to purchase all of the produce at the Farmers Market. Most of the produce is locally grown and organic when shopping at the local grocery stores, although not explicitly certified in Costa Rica from what we tell thus far.

We were disappointed not to get a better photo of this sloth. Nevertheless, they are fascinating animals commonly found living in the trees in the jungles and forests of Costa Rica.

This weekend we plan to make one of our favorite dishes, taco salad, using grass-fed ground beef, lettuce, olives, onion, tomatoes, avocados, and homemade taco seasoning. I often add hard-boiled eggs to my salad and a little homemade salad dressing.

It’s now 10:00 am, and we returned from the Atenas Farmers Market about two hours ago, loaded up with goodies we’ll share with photos in tomorrow’s post. It was a great market!

Another failed attempt at a sloth photo when we were trying to shoot through the fence.

Once we returned, we found Isabel, our cleaner, chatting with Ulysses and just about ready to enter to clean our villa.  She has a key and doesn’t need us to let her in. So, loaded up with our fruit and vegetable(Tom’s been eating some fruit since we arrived) and other foods, we hustled to get indoors to wash the produce, put everything away, and start the pot of meat cooking on the stove for tonight’s taco salads.

We wanted to hurry and get out of the way to allow Isabel space to clean. But, this house is so big, it would be hours before she’d get near the kitchen. So, busily, both Tom and I got to work washing, drying, and dicing vegetables for the salad. What a treat it is that there’s a salad spinner here. We hadn’t had one of those since Trinity Beach, Australia, in the summer of 2015.

This Giant Bamb0o tree, as shown in the two photos of us, was no less than 4 meters in diameter.

Finally, we got the meat cooked, and it’s now cooling in the refrigerator to be reheated later for dinner.  We love hot taco meat topped with melted cheese atop the other salad ingredients. In addition, two ripe avocados are waiting to be sliced that I’d left out to ripen these past few days.

While we were gone, we downloaded season eight of Master Chef, another bit of mindless drivel we enjoy from time to time. Part of the simple pleasures of our daily lives includes a day just like today. 

Tom is standing next to the Giant Bamboo tree to gain a perspective of its massive size.  The vegetation at Zoo Ave was almost as interesting as the wildlife.

We were out the door at 7:00 am to head to the Farmers Market. We took tons of photos and spoke to many locals in our very choppy Spanish as best as we could. We’re prepared, chopped, and diced vegetables for a beautiful dinner tonight, somewhat befitting Costa Rica’s style of food. 

At the moment, the sun is shining with rain predicted, as always, in the afternoon. Around noon, I’ll call my sister Julie in California to wish her a happy birthday and then, shortly after, call my sister Susan to remind her to contact Julie. Since Susan had a brain bleed six months ago due to a severe fall, her memory isn’t quite so good anymore, and I’ve made a point of calling her to remind her of important events.

I used repellent at the facility but did get a few mosquito bites but indeed not as many as expected on the hot, humid day.

Oh, we all must grab what we can from life, living it to the fullest, embracing every single moment to fill our hearts and minds with good thoughts and great memories.  Our lives are but fleeting moments in the realm of the space and time of the world around us. Grab it all. Treasure it…for as long as we can.

Photo from one year ago today, August 25, 2016:

BBC news photo of earthquake rubble as rescuers search for victims of that week’s 6.2 catastrophic event. See details below. For our post about this disaster, please click here.