Fri | Dec 6, 2019

Maggi brings Farmers' Market to New Kingston

Published:Thursday | February 6, 2014 | 12:00 AM
This vendor at right watches the scale closely as his customer adds another piece of yam to the scale during last Friday's Maggi Farmers' Market in New Kingston. - PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER SERJU

Laura Koch, Gleaner Intern

IT WAS an unusual image of New Kingston last Friday. Business people would normally rush through the streets, chatting on their smartphones, en route to pick up lunch, among other things.

Instead, a colourful oasis had appeared. Farmers set up their booths and sold their crops at the Maggi Farmers' Market.

It seems like the growers were successful, as fruits and vegetables were almost sold out by 11 a.m.

Farmer Allison Cummings left her house in Yallahs, St Thomas, at 4 a.m. in order to arrive in the capital on time. "We don't have these kinds of markets in St Thomas and I think it's a great idea bringing the goods to the people in Kingston," Cummings said.

"Especially the exotic fruits, so to say," the farmer explained. "Like star apples, star fruits, sweetsop, and so on." These products are typical Jamaican, but they barely reach the city centres. A farmers' market connects rural Jamaica with the urban area, Cummings thinks.

One of the urban customers was Marion Grant, who carried several bags out of the lively scenery. She got curious about the market, as she saw the posters in the streets of New Kingston. "It would be nice to have a market where I live, because otherwise I have to take the bus to go all the way downtown," Grant said, as she referred to the popular Coronation Market.

Fresh food at good prices

Another pedestrian was Joseph Williams, who had just bought pepper and cabbage: "I have an office up the road, and today it was very easy to get my fresh food at good price in the short time of my lunch break."

Owen White came down from Newcastle in the Blue Mountains to sell his grapefruits and lemons. Normally, he offers his crop to restaurants in Kingston.

"I work with a community group in the mountains and this is something very close to my heart," White said. "But there are too many middlemen, so us farmers are always the last to get some profit. Jamaica would do better if the farmers had more opportunities to sell their goods. We are important, because people depend on farmers."