Saturdays in the Park

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By Theo Breadguy
More and more, residents and visitors are making it a habit to spend time on Saturdays and Tuesdays at the post office park to socialize, exercise and shop for producer-to-table comestibles.  The Tianguis Natural attracts some 150 shoppers in the three hours the market operates and features some twenty-plus vendors.
When you visit the market, be sure to look for Cristina and her exquisite kumquat and guava marmalades and jams.
A life-long resident of La Paz, Cristina Campos has a very interesting background that led her to be the jam crafter she is today.
As a little girl she was raised by her grandparents. Grandfather had the first and finest bakery in all of La Paz back then. Known as the Colimense, what set his product apart from the two other bakeries in town was the fact that only he had more than one recipe for bread and several recipes for pan dulce, and of course that it all tasted good. So good in fact, that ships arriving in the port would seek him out for provisioning, which led to his purchase of a rancho in Ciudad del Cielo near the Pedregal, where he then raised animals for meat. When Cristina was a teenager, she was sent back to the mainland to care for an ailing aunt and in her free time, attended a well-known culinary academy. When she got back to La Paz, she looked for work at the Moorings and was soon in demand as a ships’ cook. It was there she began to learn to speak English.
In a dream, a voice told her she would have a destiny involving naranjitas, as kumquats are called in Spanish. And as it turned out, a gringo she met while doing volunteer work for the FANLAP children charity casually asked her about naranjitas after seeing them growing in someone’s yard. She explained to them as best she could and mentioned that some people made excellent jam from the fruit. He offered to pay her to make him some…Listening again to her dream voice, she planted some of the seeds. Can you say orchard?
She still volunteers for FANLAP, gives cooking lessons if you ask, prepares several holiday meals for some of the most important families in La Paz, and makes and sells her marmalades at the market. One taste and you’re hooked. And do pair it with some of Gabriela’s cheeses, or Les’ breads, or Benjamin’s lamb meat. Provecho!
To make your experience more fulfilling and to insure the best quality, the market organizers urge you to:

Bring your own shopping or tote bag
Please refrain from smoking on the park grounds
Bring small bills and coins to pay for your selections
Purchase from the market participants rather than itinerant street vendors offering burritos, tamales, frozen ices or jumbo shrimp and scallops.
Socialized leashed animals are permitted
Do have your car washed by one of the fellows hovering by the market. They have been vetted by the market committee and are registered with the city.
Please observe and respect the handicapped and green restricted parking zones
Prices are set by individual sellers.
The post office park is at Revolucion de 1910 and Constitucion, across the street from the main post office and Corazon Café. The park is private property and its use is gratefully acknowledged.
Contributing writer Theo Breadguy bakes artisan breads and pastries for his shop Pan D’Les bakery while assimilating to the pace of La Paz. The bakery is on Madero Street between Degollado and Ocampo, two short blocks from the Malecon. Photo courtesy of KB Morrissey.

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