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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 marketClick thumbnail to view full-size
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?
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 PhilippinesClick thumbnail to view full-size
This hubber is indebted to...
- The Naga City Public Market vegetable vendors who agreed with me as I took pictures (with permission) with their produce
- The two ladies (names withheld) whom I interviewed as I plan sharing this hub in this online writing community.
- My cousins who always welcome me whenever I visit their vegetable stall.
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