Philippine Scene # 22 - Vegetable Vendors

Early to bed, early to rise: The Life of a Vegetable Vendor

They're not the planters, or maybe some of them own some stalls in the market.

But they must rise early. As early as 1:00 AM to get the freshest produce of vegetables, including fruits, too from the truckers coming from Baguio City in Cordillera region (Benguet or Mountain Province, La Union, Ilocos provinces to mention the places where vegetables and fruits come fruit in Luzon, Philippines).

Here in Naga City, my cousins are renting a stall at the third floor of the public market, where the vegetable section is located.

Last March 21st, 2015, I happened to wake up early in order to see the goings-on in the lives of vegetable vendors. I may see that even the fruit vendors are also called such name since some of the fruits are also included in the vegetable section, like tomatoes.

It was raining when I climbed the stairs up to the top floor of the market. I eagerly helped two stall owners who were busy removing the rainwater on the aisle while entertaining some early marketers.

They said that they were already opened minutes before 5:00 AM (five in the morning).

Rootcrops, like sweet potatoes, ube (violet-colored), taro (white and red varieties) are the most-sought-after crops this summer, as ingredients for summer coolers.

Also in-demand are sweet corns, tomatoes, papayas, bananas that are being delivered through trucking as far as Davao provinces in Mindanao.

So, they should wake up early in order to select the freshest ones as they haggle with the vegetable owners and fellow vendors.

My cousins arrived around 6:00 AM (six o'clock) and I was already enriched with information about the way of life of being a vegetable vendor, as shared by their friends over a cup of instant coffee.


The Rigors of being a Vegetable Vendor

It's not all about the money.

Being a vegetable vendor makes you watchful with the time.

Vegetables and fruits, too are perishable goods that need to be delivered and marketed to customers in just a span of few hours or days, as it may be spoiled by the uncontrollable/natural environment.

Most of the Filipino vegetable vendors didn't own a vegetable cooler or even the market doesn't have that kind of facility, in this part of the country.(I don't remember other public markets have this kind of facility for vegetable vendors.)


So, they must lower their prices as retailers haggle for cheap prices for the newly-delivered vegetables.

The ups-and-downs of vegetable/fruit-prices are seldom (I doubt if they constantly do it.) monitored by DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) representatives or field workers.

One of the vegetable owners stressed to me that they are being ordered to follow the prices being implemented by the DTI without consulting them first. The prices of vegetables differ from the source than to the provinces where the produce are being delivered.

So, once their orders are delivered, they must retail it with small businessmen.

Its prices will also depreciate, as its rotting stage will endanger their marketability.

What's happening in the vegetable section of the market

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Vegetable vendor sorting out her newly-bought farm producePhoto Source: Ireno A. Alcala She's weighing the veggie item bought by an early-morn customer.Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Vegetable vendor sorting out her newly-bought farm produce
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Vegetable vendor sorting out her newly-bought farm produce
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala She's weighing the veggie item bought by an early-morn customer.
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala She's weighing the veggie item bought by an early-morn customer.
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala

How great it is to be a vegetable vendor?

It's tedious, I admit.

But the richness of information that you can learn from vegetable vendors are the ones I will cherish as I am tempted to be like them.

I live in a tropical country, Philippines, that is. So, I expect that the seasonal fruits, vegetables, root-crops and spices (rolled into the vegetable section) are being delivered on time.

Delays are and should be avoided as it will also affect the farmers, the vegetable truckers, the vegetable vendors and the consumers.

Vegetable vendors are the ones greatly affected by factors surrounding their routines in the public market.

Come rain or come shine and even stormy weather, they are always present in the market in order to distribute such farm produce to the small retailers and the end-users (families, restaurants,hotels, etc.).

Their knowledge about the products they are vending also come from farmers, themselves (how they are planted, nurtured, and harvested).

Their lives are always on-the-run as they literally run in order to outcome other vendors in order to get the freshest ones right from the trucking units or delivery vans.

They evade rest, but they enjoyed selling their products in just a short span of time.

If their products are only few. They will start to wait for new orders to be delivered by the farmers themselves.

The cycle of market life goes on and on.

And to all vegetable vendors, they are always happy to serve their awaiting customers each day as it comes.

Market Poll via Vegetable Section

Have you been to the Vegetable Section of your Public Market?

See results without voting

Respect to all vegetable vendors

I grow my own vegetables at home. And fruits, too.

But it's not enough, so, I still buy other veggies at the public market.

I frequent this section in the market because I can monitor the seasonal produce that I can purchase.

Time is important with them. They must dispatch their products as early as possible in order to accommodate the newly-delivered products.

Their routines are in fast pace in the market.

Local agricultural products should be patronized by the consumers rather than cling to imported ones.


Some of the local produce or vegetable products during summer here in the Philippines

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Sweet banana and tomatoesPhoto Source: Ireno A. Alcala Half-ripen tomatoesPhoto Source: Ireno A. Alcala Singkamas or turnipsPhoto Source: Ireno A. Alcala PineapplePhoto Source: Ireno A. Alcala CoconutPhoto Source: Ireno A. Alcala Sweet CornPhoto Source: Ireno A. Alcala GingerPhoto Source: Ireno A. Alcala Hot PepperPhoto Source: Ireno A. Alcala Star ApplePhoto Source: Ireno A. Alcala Water MelonPhoto Source: Ireno A. Alcala StrawberriesPhoto Source: Ireno A. Alcala Garlic and OnionPhoto Source: Ireno A. Alcala Broccoli and other veggies
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Sweet banana and tomatoes
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Sweet banana and tomatoes
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Half-ripen tomatoes
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Half-ripen tomatoes
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Singkamas or turnips
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Singkamas or turnips
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Pineapple
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Pineapple
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Coconut
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Coconut
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Sweet Corn
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Sweet Corn
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Ginger
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Ginger
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Hot Pepper
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Hot Pepper
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Star Apple
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Star Apple
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Water Melon
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Water Melon
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Strawberries
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Strawberries
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Garlic and Onion
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Garlic and Onion
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Broccoli and other veggies
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala Broccoli and other veggies

This hubber is indebted to...

  1. The Naga City Public Market vegetable vendors who agreed with me as I took pictures (with permission) with their produce
  2. The two ladies (names withheld) whom I interviewed as I plan sharing this hub in this online writing community.
  3. My cousins who always welcome me whenever I visit their vegetable stall.

Vegetable Vendor

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14 comments

mary615 profile image

mary615 20 months ago from Florida

Your photos make me hungry for fresh produce! I visited Puerto Rico last year, and I enjoy the vendors who would visit our neighborhood. We could hear the songs they sang announcing their arrival.

Voted UP, etc.


greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 20 months ago from Malaysia

I used to go to our wholesale wet market, but you must go there very early in the morning, as early as 4.30am to get the freshest fish, meat, vegetables and fruits. I don't do this now and your article reminds me of those crazy days. Great hub and photos.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 20 months ago from Olympia, WA

Thank you for a wonderful look into another culture. We buy local from local farmers and vendors. We refused to buy vegetables from the supermarket.


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 20 months ago from Germany

Wow! Your photos made me hungry as I miss most of our tropical fruits. I love going on the public market on Sundays when I am in our home country. Thanks for sharing. Great hub and photos.


JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

JYOTI KOTHARI 20 months ago from Jaipur

Ireno,

you have touched a subject not usual. Thanks. Rated up and useful.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 20 months ago from Southern Illinois

There's nothing I like better than visiting a farmers market to buy fresh fruit and vegies. I enjoyed reading your hub. Thank you for sharing....


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 20 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is an interesting hub. Thanks for describing the lives of vegetable vendors and their efforts to sell good produce.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 20 months ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@mary615:I'm glad this hub rekindled your memory about marketing for fresh agricultural produce.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 20 months ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@greatstuff: I agree that you must wake up early in order to get the freshest produce right from the truckers before it is distributed to market vendors.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 20 months ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@billybuc: Right on that and good for you, Sir Bill. You'll never know what they spray on the vegetables, rootcrops and fruits in order to make it look fresh for a week.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 20 months ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@Thelma Alberts: Thanks, ma'am, kabayan. It's nice to hear that you miss our tropical produce. I hope you'll be coming home soon this year.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 20 months ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@JYOTI KOTHARI: Thank you, Sir, for the positive remark. I surfed your hubs, too. And you've been highlighting what's happening in your country. Same as mine.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 20 months ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@always exploring: Most of us are health-buffs nowadays. We always want the fresh produce being vended by the farmers themselves.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 20 months ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@AliciaC: Vegetable farmers/vendors are important part of the society. And the market, too. Their wake-up call is always ahead of us, consumers.

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