Mango Market

Mango Market on Isla del Sol.

Feel the breeze, the warmth of the sun.

Isla del Sol is an uninhabited island and protected to keep it in it’s natural state.  A very tropical feel to the island with it’s abundance of mangoes, fanned palmetto palms, and awesome wind blown oaks.  It is believed that the island was originally occupied by native dwellers who worked in the groves of mango there.  The island is also nicknamed Mango Island.

Today, descendants of explorers live in a nearby  village on the mainland. Isla del Sol is only accessible by canoe.  Visitors must paddle their way to the island, across a small inlet, as did the natives long ago.  Abandoned and weathered canoes still rest upon it’s shore. The island is managed by a farm cooperative. Members, who grow their own natural fruits and vegetables, share them in a marketplace twice weekly on the island.

“Good morning, members.  Another delightful day in our marketplace.  I decided to add some color to make it look more festive and tropical.  I have the usual six carts. They   are now painted with a variety of pastels.  I hope you like them.  Thank you, Ernesto,” said Magdalena, manager of Mango Market. “Let’s see what you have, Diego.” “Mama,  I have the finest coffee, tea, cocoa and apple cider.  The coffee, today, is one hundred percent Colombian.  I have English tea, the best Swiss chocolate, and fresh squeezed apple cider.  I have four decanters, one for each.  Piping hot, ready to serve,” said Diego. “Load your items on this cart.  It’s mocha brown.  Place your cart at the end of the path on the left. The aromas will radiate throughout the market.” “I will, señora.  And I have my earthen clay mugs and wooden spoons.  Natural everything.  Raw honey, fresh cream, and brown sugar cane,” said Diego.

“The breads, come ahead.  Rosa, what a wheat wagon you have.  Mmm, hot crusted French, Italian, and Cuban.  Oh, the aromas will blend well with the coffee cart,” said Magdalena with delight and a smile. “Buenos días, Magdalena.  Fresh from the oven. Spreads of butter, cream cheese, and apple butter.  Clove and cinnamon sprinkles. These will awaken the senses,” said Rosa as she fans her hand across the baskets. “Take this cart.  It’s painted with a pastel of clay yellow.  Please, set up on the left, up front next to Diego’s mocha brown coffee cart.  A nice contrast of color.” said Magdalena.

Feel the breeze, the warmth of the sun.

“Need fruit.  Need fruits and juices.  Come on up, Juan,” said Magdalena. “I got the fruits, señora, and I got the juice.  Is tropical okay?” said Juan. “Of course, they look so luscious.  The juice boxes are fine, as long as they are fresh squeezed,” said Magdalena. “I have papaya, guava, and ripened mangoes,” said Juan proudly. “I hope those are my mangoes.  They don’t look like my mangoes. Are they organic and not supermarket?” said Magdalena with suspicion. “Not supermarket, but farmer’s market and I was told that they are organic.  All natural,” said Juan. “Well, they’ll do, but please, do not tell anyone about them.  They all come here for my mangoes, as you know, grown here on the island.  Here. Take the aqua marine cart.  A nice contrast of color.  On the left, right here, up front.   Gracias, Juan,” said Magdalena.

“I need a hot food cart.  Benito, I smell your tamale pies and burritos and sizzling sausage.   Do you have sauce and cheese?” “Yes, I do, señora.  And I have hot cheese sticks and nachos.” “I’ll be the first in line for your cheese sticks.  I hope you have a blazing hot sauce for the nachos. Need mild too.  Oh, your cart.  Take this one, the pastel palmetto green.  At the end, on the right, across from Diego’s coffee cart,” said Magdalena as she views the set up of the carts.

Feel the breeze, the warmth of the sun.

“Let’s see, the pastries. Ah, the smell of yeast, vanilla, chocolate, sugar and spice.  I know you are here, please come forward,” said Magdalena with anticipation. “I have the cart already.  Loaded and ready to go,” said Anna Maria. “Oh, my goodness, what a display.  A bakery cart adds flavor to a marketplace. This is the perfect cart.  Raspberry is the right color for you.  Up this way, on the right, next to Benito’s hot food cart.  Mmm, the blend of coffee, sizzling sausage, and pastries will compliment each other.”

“One last cart, a vegetable cart, please. Señora Alvarez,  good morning.  Your vegetables look so fresh.  All organic, I hope,” said Magdalena. “Yes, indeed, señora. I have fresh golden corn in their husks, ripened cherry tomatoes, green and red peppers, red onions, and crisp lettuce,” said Señora Alvarez. “This cart is for you, brilliant orange. On the right, up front, here.”

Feel the breeze, the warmth of the sun.

Magdalena, with her arms crossed, looks at the marketplace on the yellow clay path, under the shade of the wind blown oaks.  The sun is beaming through providing the light of day.   She bends back breathing in the flavors of the market and she delights in the pastels of color she has created. “Everyone, this is the day, this is the place, this is the time for us to celebrate.  Moments away before our first guests arrive.  Are you ready? Do you all have mangoes?” “We are ready,” said by all the vendors in the marketplace. “And yes, Magdalena, we all have mangoes, plenty of them!” said Juan.  All laugh.

“We are ready, then.  I need two greeters at the entrance.  Carlos and Alicia, can you assist me here?  Remember to check their membership cards.  All guests must be accompanied by a member.  Must do a count.  We only allow twenty five into the marketplace per hour.  On each side of you, there are two tables of my fresh mangoes.  Give one of each to our  members and guests may have one, too.  Oh yes, tell them about our sunrise market.  It’s the day after tomorrow.  Must be here at predawn before sunrise.  I know it’s early, but that’s what it’s all about, the sunrise.  It’s a two hour market open to only twenty five.  That way, there will be room to casually roam, allow time and space to gather, and to enjoy the flavors of our food and drink.”

“Good morning, all.  Welcome to Mango Market.  A mango for you and a mango for you,” said Carlos wearing his straw hat with a colorful red band. “This way, please.  Straight ahead.  Enjoy your time in the market,” said Alicia wearing a long melon tunic belted at the waist with a yellow braided tie.  On her feet are simple leather sandals.

Magdalena said to those entering the market, “Good morning, buenos dias.  It’s a delightful day.  Have a great time.  We have everything for you.  All fresh and natural.”

Just before noon when the market closes, Magdalena walks through the market  talking with each vendor. “Everything good, Diego?” “Yes, used four decanters of each today.” “Benito, all your food is gone.  Did you run out?” “Yes, Magdalena.  I was raided,” laughingly said Benito.

“Rosa, you still have breads.  What happened?” “Not too many bread lovers today.   Everyone seemed to like the bagels which I  don’t normally have much of a demand.  And the cream cheese.   Went like ice cream!”

“I know the pastries did well and I see they did, Anna Maria.” “Everyone wanted every one of them.  The sweet breads were the most popular, conchas and, believe or not, the German chocolate cake.” “This is an island market, you would think,” said Magdalena. Anna Maria continue, “The frosted apple turnovers went like fresh apples picked from the tree.” “Did you save me a couple?  You know what I like,” said Magdalena with a smile. “Yes, I did.  The concha and the German chocolate cake.”  Shh!” said Magdalena.

“All right, give me your score, Juan.” “I did well, all stopped here first because I’m at the front of the market. The most popular fruit was the Georgia peach.  The most favored juice was pineapple,” said hesitantly by Juan. “What do you mean, no mangoes sold? How did the Georgia peach get in here? and the pineapple juice?  This is not Hawaii!” said Magdalena a little distressed.  Juan to Magdalena, “They were requested and I had a few under the counter.  Yes, I got them at the farmer’s market, too.” “Aye Yai Yai!  Next time, all mangoes, my mangoes!” said Magdalena shaking her finger with a smile.

“Mrs. Alvarez, I know you came through for me, you always do.  Vegetables.  Everyone needs vegetables.   How did you do?” said Magdalena hoping for a home run. “I sold a few tomatoes, and the husks of corn are always popular, but the rest  are still here.  I’m sorry no home run,” said   Señora Alvarez, then said “I sold mangoes, many of them.  Fresh from your grove.” “That really delights me, you did make a home run!  You win the prize,” said Magdalena. “Prize, I get a prize?” said Señora Alvarez. “Yes, you sold mangoes.  Above the rest!  Here’s a bag of mangoes to go,” said Magdalena with a grin and a wink.

“Thank you folks for coming, the market closes in five minutes.  Remember the sunrise market in two days.  Only twenty five are allowed and must be here before the break of dawn.  Reservations are required,” said Magdalena as she directs Carlos to close the gate. 

Feel the breeze, the warmth of the sun.

 

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