Eat local: Morning food market in Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile

Palafito houses at high tide, Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile

Palafito houses at high tide, Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile

Our ship anchored in the bay at Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile

Our ship anchored in the bay at Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile

We joined a local chef for a morning walk trough, tasting and shopping at the local market in Castro, Chile, on Chiloé Island. In addition to seeing some really fresh produce, fish and seafood, we had the opportunity to learn about some local culinary traditions.

We bought several bags of these local Chilean potatoes for our kitchen at the morning food market in downtown Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile

We bought several bags of these local Chilean potatoes for our kitchen at the morning food market in downtown Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile

We found out that Charles Darwin made note of the hundreds of potato varieties grown on Chiloé Island during a visit in 1834.  Recent genetic studies confirm that the island is the original source of 90% of all potatoes grown around the world!  The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) declared Chiloé a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (SIPAM in Spanish) in 2012, recognizing the sometimes unusual ancestral farming methods still used by Chiloétes (as locals are called) today.

At the morning food market in downtown Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile, we bought fresh fish filets that made an excellent dinner on board that evening

At the morning food market in downtown Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile, we bought fresh fish filets that made an excellent dinner on board that evening

All the fish at the morning food market in downtown Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile, was fresh and hand filleted by the fishmonger

All the fish at the morning food market in downtown Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile, was fresh and hand filleted by the fishmonger

Homemade ceviche at the morning food market in downtown Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile

Homemade ceviche at the morning food market in downtown Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile

 

At the morning food market in downtown Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile, we bought a 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) bag of locally farmed mussels that were great steamed for lunch and, separtely, made a terrific sauce for our fish fillets for dinner

At the morning food market in downtown Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile, we bought a 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) bag of locally farmed mussels that were great steamed for lunch and, separtely, made a terrific sauce for our fish fillets for dinner

 

At the morning food market in downtown Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile, we were able to buy "tastes" of local uni (sea urchin) that is a rare treat (usually very expensive when imported from Japan in sushi restaurants and specialty stores)

At the morning food market in downtown Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile, we were able to buy “tastes” of local uni (sea urchin) that is a rare treat (usually very expensive when imported from Japan in sushi restaurants and specialty stores)

“Uni (oo-nee) is the Japanese name for the edible part of the Sea Urchin. While colloquially referred to as the roe (eggs), uni is actually the animal’s gonads (which produce the milt or roe). Uni ranges in color from rich gold to light yellow, and has a creamy consistency that some love and is off-putting to others. It is nevertheless one sushi item that is in incredible demand around the world, which is reflected in its price. Sea Urchins are a rare treat for those who acquire a taste.” — http://www.sushifaq.com 

Scenic Chiloé Island, Chile

Scenic Chiloé Island, Chile

 

4 thoughts on “Eat local: Morning food market in Castro, Chiloé Island, Chile

    • I would guess the study was done either by the Chilean government or, if there is one, the potato growers co-operative, as the results make great marketing and brand distinction. At the museum in Panama City we were surprised to learn how many everyday American and European foods have their origins in Central and South America (in addition to corn and the obvious, Lima beans, potatoes, avocados, tomatoes, etc.). Go back and check out my blog post on the museum as there are two photographs of the graphical map displays highlighting some of this.
      Almost everyone in our small group did have a taste of the uni. It was very fresh and “of the sea”. The price was a fraction of what we pay in the coastal U.S. for fresh, flown-in-from-Japan uni at restaurants or specialty markets.

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    • We love local central and farmers’ markets, especially the variety of local foods and the great array of vendors with their varied attitudes about customers and crazy Americans taking pictures of mundane things like potatoes. Photographing the vendors is usually fun and sometimes very entertaining (watching their positive and, infrequently, their negative and resentful reactions).

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