Farmers weekend market turns 10, set to become vegetarian food hub

The vegetable cooking contest was held to promote awareness and love for healthy cooking.*Ronnie Baldonado photo

The Negros Farmers Weekend Market at Magsaysay Avenue in Bacolod City marked its 10th anniversary with a vegetable cooking contest on Saturday, March 18.

The vegetable cooking contest was held to encourage people in the community to take part in public events, promote awareness and love for healthy cooking, and of the need to eat more vegetables, said Ruby Cruz, who was the lead organizer of the weekend market 10 years ago.

Now her son, David Cruz, is helping out.

The 1.2 hectare weekend market that is open Saturdays and Sundays provides a venue for farmers to sell their fresh produce and is a corporate social responsibility project of DC Cruz Trading Corp., of which David is a management trainee, she said.

Six participants joined the vegetable cooking contest and the judges were led by Chef Benedict John Co Uy.

Winning the first prize was Gina Mesias for her Ginataang Pakbet and vegan spring rolls.

Belen Saguirre was second place winner for her “ratatoh” dish and in third place was Quenni Napatal for her cucumber roll with dressing and bokchoy in garlic sauce.

Ruby Cruz said the crowd at the weekend market dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic and they are hoping that with the new normal more customers will start returning.

The pandemic brought a different form of competition with the shift to online buying, she said.

Under the new normal, it’s time to be a community again and reach out and interact with people, she said.

The market will be open for events for free, including for artists to display their works, Cruz said.

Cruz said they are also raising awareness on the different varieties of vegetables. For example there are different varieties of tomatoes for different dishes, she pointed.

To further promote the love of vegetables, a vegetarian restaurant will open at the market’s dining area at the end of the month, she said.

It will be open every day, except Saturdays since the owner is a Seventh-day Adventist member, she said.

The restaurant’s food will be very good, Cruz said.

David Cruz said they plan to turn the dining area of the market into a vegetarian food hub over the next six months.

He also plans to put at a bazaar at the market that will showcase Negros products.*

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