The Huatulco Organic Market celebrates 11 years and they celebrate in a big way


In a complex commercial landscape for those who want to take care of their health without the environment paying the high cost, the Huatulco Organic Market has made its way for 11 consecutive years.

Medicinal or ornamental plants, hair or body treatments, gastronomy, but above all products that do not require chemicals make up a wide variety that about 70 people offer every Saturday in the park of Santa Cruz Huatulco, on the coast of Oaxaca.

Overcoming Tragedy

The trail of tragedy that came with cancer in her left eye gave María Rita Buston Millán the unexpected start of her own business.

“My hair fell out as if it were being torn out, they were such strong medications that they injected me in the operating room to calm the pain,” but a friend gave her a recipe that allowed her to be reborn.

It took Rita about two years for her hair to become abundant again, and the success of the treatment encouraged her daughters to make it for sale.

When the Huatulco Organic Market turned one year old, Rita arrived with a backpack carrying five bottles of her shampoo.

She also carried a small cedar table, a stool, but above all a great faith that led her to have the Savi-nat brand, which now includes more than 50 types of medicinal soaps, ointments, essences for the nerves, and hair styling cream.

“This is what I live on, from the little that I sell,” says a woman who, after a separation, became self-sufficient and able to financially support her adult children.

The Magic of Nature

In the recent 11 years, Ester Olivera Bustamante arrives every Saturday at the Huatulco Organic Market to sell, from 8:00 to 14:00 hours, fish and a diversity of plants, especially aquatic ones.

The first time she participated in this market was because of a friend who invited her son Uriel, who, due to family difficulties, could not study beyond middle school, but who found in “San Youtube” a way to learn about the vast world of biology.

“In 2014, at 38 years old, I was diagnosed with cysts in my breasts, I started looking for natural alternatives, to grow my own food, lemons, nopales, epazote, and spearmint,” a bit of what she brought to her first participation in the organic market.

Little by little, she incorporated ornamental plants and fish into her sales, but now she brings aquatic plants and promotes gardens of that type.

“The customers are very happy, my passion is plants,” she says, sure that you have to have a good hand to ensure that nature multiplies its magic.

Her knowledge extends to about 150 medicinal plants, such as cinnamon, which is a shrub whose leaf is used for baths that expel a cold from the body.

“Nature is a wonder,” says a woman who feels that delving into plants has been like going back to the past, when as a girl she would go to the field with her father Manuel, who did not need allopathic medicine to heal.

While Ester talks, Mateo, a nine-year-old customer who has been visiting her since he was four, listens and finds the opportunity to tell her about his experiences after buying an apple snail from her.

“It’s hermaphroditic, it doesn’t need another to reproduce, but you shouldn’t put it with the fish because it eats them,” says Mateo with the vivacity encapsulated in his curious child’s eyes.

In this beach tourist complex founded by the Federal Government, the sea helps to provide humidity to the intense heat of May, but the nine bays are mainly visited by local visitors, what tourism service providers call the low season.

Stuck to the griddle, Hilda Guzman Mijangos tells part of the 10 years she has been in the organic market, where she revealed herself as a traditional cook.

“One yellow and one with nopales,” asks Hilda’s daughter Carelia, who holds a notebook in which she writes down the orders of three people waiting to have lunch.

On a blackboard is written the menu for the dobladitas: nopales, chicken yellow, quesillo or shrimp yellow, because the potatoes with chorizo and the bean tamales have just run out.

This weekend she has not brought the pickled fish that made Hilda famous as a traditional cook in Zimatlán, a community in the municipality of Santiago Astata that is in the division of the regions of the Coast and the Isthmus.

Two and a half hours have passed since the sale began and she is about to finish everything she prepared to sell, because her family takes care of everything from planting the corn to making the tortilla.

Hilda began selling in this market what she harvested, but in 2011 the passage of Hurricane Beatriz destroyed the small family restaurant and left a deep sadness that she only overcame when she changed her focus to food here.

“I was the first one to start selling food and that led us to start growing corn,” she also innovated in the gastronomic offer by offering rarities like pickled fish, yellow mole with chepil, shrimp, or cocomelca, as the lizard tail is called.

Sustainable Agriculture

Among the stalls, food is the first thing to run out and sales must be profitable to pay for the fare of long journeys like the one Laura Fuentes Cruz has been making from El Mandimbo, San Miguel del Puerto for 10 years to offer tostadas made of corn dough combined with

Tostadas made on the griddle from corn dough combined with peanuts, corozo (small seed of a palm), coconut water, or sesame.

To be able to pay with two other companions the thousand pesos for the round trip to their community, she also sells roasted or ground coffee, red corn tortillas, honey, chives, watercress, lemon tea, squash with chepil, purslane, tomatoes, and little chilies that are organic products because they do not require chemicals.

“We don’t bring everything we grow, but we do bring what’s left over, we have a resource for the family and for the fare that is quite expensive,” laments Laura.

The high cost of transportation has influenced that of the 18 women producers who traveled from La Merced del Potrero, in the municipality of San Miguel del Puerto, 61 kilometers away, now only eight arrive.

“Sometimes we have leftover product and the sales are not enough to pay 200 pesos for the round trip,” reflects Teodora Hernández Sánchez, who does not stop coming because her participation implies demonstrating that “you can survive with the knowledge and use of natural resources, be in harmony with health and the environment.”

As treasurer of the Association of Producers of the Huatulco Organic Market, Magdalena Hernandez Ramírez knows about numbers, in high seasons that bring vacationers up to 70 producers participate.

“The founding people were like 12,” remembers a woman who joined the second Saturday because she came to buy artisanal cheeses, but she liked the good music and the atmosphere of sharing what is produced without damaging the environment, but above all with respect to plants and animals.

Source: OVI Noticias