The Peasant Market, a coffee habit

Saturday 5:00 am, the bells of the Catholic Church announced the beginning of the mass, it was a day to take communion and to do the grocery. At the end of the mass, many people were reaching the main park of the municipality; awnings, blankets on the floor, fruits, vegetables, coffee, chickens, live music and more.

Doña María blew the arepas she had put to roast over coal, Don Pedro carried by shoulder two packages full of vegetables that he harvested on his farm La Esperanza, Don Javier, one of the traditional butchers cut the rib for the broth for family Gomez's breakfast. Doña Carmena with her friends, the pink ladies (a group of women who did social work), offered delicious empanadas with tinto (coffee) at 15 cents, while Don Leonel and his friends drank cold chicha, for the sun that was beginning to get on their heads.

Don Jesus, the scrap dealer, arrived on horseback with two hanging boxes full of things, among them, some cloth dresses that he brought from outside, and that Doña Leonor longed for her husband. Don Pablito drove the mules ( See article of the Arriero ) that would arrange in an exit row for the farms well loaded with food, gasoline, clothing, wax, everything on Saturday, the day of Peasant Market (Mercado Campesino) when everything was bought or exchanged (barter) to supply the inhabitants of the town and surrounding farms.

| Photography by @Laumariposa at Peasant Market in Buenavista

It was a great party, as grandparents describe it with nostalgia today, remembering the day of the market, where all the families of the town joined and became one; It was celebrated with music, liquor and abundant food. Each month the meeting was enlarged, there was a big fair, with fresh food, with animals like pigs, cattle and mules for sale or change, a trio of guitars entertained the space, it was a cultural moment.

Trapiche (traditional machine to make chicha, a beverage made from sugar cane) | Photography by @Laumariposa at Peasant Market in Buenavista

Years later the sounds of Saturday were transformed, the square was left empty, and the products that already brought them from other places, were packed in the windows of small shops and supermarkets. Progress had arrived, after the main road was paved it opened the doors to foreign trade, more innovative and economic; the mules were replaced by Willies, and trucks full of merchandise called baratillas, adding that once a day arrived a chiva (old bus) that went to Armenia (capital city of the department of Quindío); this, gave the possibility to people to buy outside.

And so it was that little by little the peasant tradition was transforming, impacting peasants' economy, losing cultural practices, taking a purely commercial sense. Today's peasants, stopped sowing for their consumption and that of their neighbors; On Saturday they go to the urban area of their municipality or a nearby municipality, they have merchandise in a supermarket, they do it most times, alone and not as a family as they did before, they celebrate by themselves or with a small group of friends in the village taverns.

| Photography by @Laumariposa at Peasant Market in Buenavista

That is why at this time, in some places at the initiative of municipal administrations or private companies, it is sought to rescue that tradition of coffee culture, as in municipalities such as Buenavista and Pijao, the peasant market is revived, not all Saturdays as before, since the food harvested on the farms is mostly intended for sale outside; but often, to live those customs at risk of extinction, to encourage the planting of food on a small scale and destined for local consumption, to return to agro-ecological crops and above all to remind young people and visitors, the beautiful traditions of Colombia's coffee culture.

| Photography by @Laumariposa at Peasant Market in Buenavista

Thanks to Pablo Teleche, José Antonio Bustos Vergara and Amparo Arbeláez, for telling their stories that managed to weave this small but delightful article.

* Names are fictional characters created by the author.

Written by: LaurAcostaJ