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Being Organic in Costa Rica

Costa Rica News – I’m that sort of human being who has a tendency to go against the current. A salmon, if you wish! However, with age (finally some maturity coming my way,) trying to attach to healthier lifestyles has become a bit of a priority. So, after one class of yoga and having been married to exercise for a few years, I became a yoga freak in love with the amazing feeling of well being that it provides.

Organic Costa RicaAlso, after trying out amazing vegan, raw and juicing recipes, I’m now choosing by default, healthier choices for my body’s nutrition. Please note that I still drink, eat fried pork and enjoy what I want when I want it. These healthier tendencies are just becoming more of my choice as time goes by without me trying to fake a fad or becoming a health freak dictator with myself. It’s just happening and I’m not forcing any drastic changes.

So, as a Costa Rican who is eating vegan and raw 75% of the week, I decided that it was time to visit the famous Organic Farmer’s Market: Feria Verde de Aranjuez. In October, on a Saturday morning, I did what my aunty had always wished for me: I woke up early, showered and went to the Feria. Naturally, I wore my recently bought, pink Crocs, since I figured that it was the right place to freely enjoy them and melt in the “hippie” crowd.

What can I say? After three months of only missing one Feria (birthday hangover) and having been out of Costa Rica for 3 weeks, I have never missed one Saturday. If you’re living in San Jose and you want to spend your Saturday morning in an amazing, relaxing environment, come join this event. And I say event, cuz I truly socialize in this place. I eat the most amazing and original breakfasts that vary from “four cheese sandwich with sourdough bread to falafels, veggie focaccias or delicious and typical rice n’ beans, omelets and organic coffee.” And not only do I buy some of the veggies I digest Organic Costa Ricaduring the week, but I also get my raw honey, natural cosmetics, quinoa, bamboo fiber clothes and delicate spices. The products are exiting, but mostly, the environment is a delight.

This feria reminds me of the jolly environment of the farmer’s market in Union Square, Manhattan. While I wrote my book, I sold fish in this market to save money and yes, support my own existence. Since I returned to CR, I have always missed the festive and friendly environment of that market. What I never thought could happen, was that I would find it here on every Saturday morning.

So, if you’re visiting or living in CR, don’t miss the opportunity to at least have breakfast in this park and see a lot of expats and Costa Ricans joined in one happy place.

I also feel obliged to say that I know people who criticize my feria for being a trendy place and sort of snobbish. They say that prices are too high and people just go there to show off how green and organic they are. So, as a side option, I hear that la Feria Organica El Trueque, is cheaper and more “real” and that there is an organic farmer’s market in Escazu as well. Oh, and there are many other farmers markets on Saturdays in San Jose that are not self labeled as organic and who have been in business for decades.

But as for me, I will stick to my Feria Verde in Aranjuez, regardless of the criticism. It’s one and sometimes THE social event of my week. It feels right to me. Just like that Kale I have introduced in my juices or that fried pork I eat when invited to do so.

By Mariana Den Hollander

Mariana den Hollander is a native Costa Rican artist and published writer. She majored in Fine Arts in The Hague and has resided in the US, Nicaragua, Honduras and Canada. She currently lives in San Jose and recently changed her life to be able to dedicate to painting, writing, promoting musicians and producing music events. Art page: E-mail:info [at]

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