How did Peru’s capital come to host numerous weekend food fairs? Find out the history behind the bioferias in Lima and what they offer.
As a kid I would go to the food fair in Caracas with my grandmother to get fresh produce for the week. Then, when I grew up, it became part of my own routine: first in Caracas and later on in different countries. In my opinion the top weekend market was the Santa Monica Farmers Market in California, so when I moved to Lima I was glad to know that I was moving just a block away from the bioferia (organic food fair) in Miraflores. Now all over the city, the bioferias in Lima (also termed ecoferias) are places to find great locally sourced produce and artisanal products.
The first bioferia in Lima was conceived as a once a month event in Miraflores. Even after a minor set back just a few weeks ago, this pioneer food market will celebrate 20 years this December. Not only that, but it’s now a weekly event where producers from Lima bring fresh organic certified products to their caseras (return customers). It’s held Saturdays at Miraflores next to Parque Reducto. There is another feria nearby on Saturdays and Sundays in the main street next to the Surquillo No. 1 Market.
From this concept, many others have spawned. La Molina held their first Mercado Saludable—a healthy market that offers certified organic products such as vegetables, meat, dairy and personal care products. All of these items must pass through a filter for quality whereby they verify that the product complies with their healthy standards. Characteristics that won’t fly: refined sugars, bleached flour, margarine or unhealthy fats, produce and other items from farms that use pesticides and/or implement factory farming.
In 2012, Apega, the organizers of Mistura, created the AgroFerias Campesinas. The first edition was held on Av. Brazil in Magdalena, where it continues until now. Since then, other editions have been set up in San Borja and Lince. The approach of the AgroFerias Campesinas is mostly driven to offer national Peruvian farmers with good prices on fresh products.
Back in 2015 Barranco got its own Feria Ecologica, in which now more than 50 producers offer their products. This feria offers not only fruits and vegetables, but also processed vegan products, personal and home care items and accessories. That same year, at the El Polo shopping center, the El Polo Green ecoferia was created. Food products, family-friendly entertainment (free Zumba classes and activities for children), cheese and wine tastings, food trucks and some other special activities can be enjoyed here.
Other district food fairs have been struggling, some have come close and some are still fighting. Such is the case of the Feria Ecomarket, once held Sundays on Calle Miguel Dasso in San Isidro. It had to move to Miraflores to the Casa de la Moneda Museum to operate on Saturdays, which lasted only a couple of years before moving next door to Av. Arequipa 4501 and switching to Sundays. Sadly, when these type of weekly events get moved around the vendors tend to lose clients that were used to the original location or day of operation.
In any case, you can find food fairs that offer organic, vegan, vegetarian or artisanal products all over the city.
Each food fair has its charm, depending on their demographic. If you want to get healthy and quality products give any of the bioferias in Lima a try. All participating vendors are friendly and give you a great customer experience. In fact, many of the vendors at the Miraflores, La Molina and Barranco farmer’s markets speak English which is always a pro if you are new to town.
All photos: Daniel Quintero
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