Market day

Across the Caribbean, the freshest produce, best bargains, and often the friendliest advice can still be found at traditional markets. Here are six worth exploring, ranging from Dominica to Curaçao to French Guiana

San Antonio Green Market, Santa Cruz, Trinidad. Photograph courtesy San Antonio Green MarketWooden craft for sale at the San Antonio Green Market. Photograph courtesy San Antonio Green MarketNew Market, Roseau, Dominica. Photograph by Celia SorhaindoGrand Marché, Fort-de-France, Martinique. Photograph by pack-shot/shutterstock.comRambutan fruit, introduced from South-east Asia and now grown in French Guiana, at the Hmong Market in Cacao. Photograph by Nicholas LaughlinHmong Market, Cacao, French Guiana. Photograph by Nicholas LaughlinFloating Market, Willemstad, Curaçao. Photograph by sbossert/shutterstock.comStabroek Market, Georgetown, Guyana. Photograph by Michael Lam

San Antonio Green Market
Santa Cruz, Trinidad

In the lush valley north-east of Port of Spain, organic farmers and artisanal food producers are the stars of this weekly market, held every Saturday. You’ll find the freshest herbs, local fruits that never appear in the supermarket, goats’ milk, Trinidad’s famous cocoa — and the fare varies with the season, so expect surprises.

 

New Market
Roseau, Dominica

The rich volcanic soil of Dominica, the Caribbean’s “Nature Isle,” produces a bounty of vegetables and fruit, and the best place to find them — if not your own garden plot — is the New Market near the Roseau River. Alongside enormous pineapples and mangos you’ll find garlands of local flowers, hot peppers arranged by vendors into piquant bouquets, and craft like baskets — useful for carrying away your shopping.

 

Grand Marché
Fort-de-France, Martinique

Also called the Spice Market, this covered hall in the heart of Martinique’s capital collects all the flavours and aromas that make French Creole cuisine so famously exquisite — and a heady array of rums and liqueurs steeped with every imaginable fruit and spice.

 

Hmong Market
Cacao, French Guiana

The Hmong of French Guiana — who first arrived here in the 1970s, refugees from Laos — are said to be only one per cent of the population of the French overseas department, but they’re responsible for most local agriculture. The village of Cacao is the centre of the Hmong community, and the market here offers varieties of produce introduced from South-east Asia, as well as the characteristic embroidery work made by Hmong women.

 

Floating Market
Willemstad, Curaçao

The first thing you need to know: the market doesn’t actually float, but the small boats that bring the produce certainly do. The market stalls sit right beside a canal, for easy delivery, and the fruit and vegetables on sale mostly come from nearby Venezuela. Many of the vendors belong to families who have been transporting and selling produce from the “Main” for generations.

 

Stabroek Market
Georgetown, Guyana

The Victorian iron clocktower of Stabroek Market has been a Georgetown landmark since 1881, though this site on the Demerara River was home to the city’s main market even earlier than that. Under its roof you’ll find areas devoted to fruit and vegetables — local and imported — meat, seafood, clothes, gold jewellery, and even a passage lined with sellers of birdcages.