The Mercado de la Tierra is in the municipality of Colonia Valdense, a small town of about 3200 inhabitants in the south-west of Uruguay, in the department of Colonia. It is a very cosmopolitan area, inhabited mainly by descendants of Swiss and Italian (Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta, in particular) Waldesian immigrants. Its location is strategic because of the easy connections to the main neighbouring cities (Colonia Suiza, Rosario, La Paz) and the access to the sea.
Colonia is well known for tourism as it is only 59 km from Colonia del Sacramento, famous for its historic district that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This area, in Uruguay, is a rural and productive region mainly linked to the dairy sector.
The market started out as a monthly fair and has been running since June 2020, with the founding of the Colonia Sabores y Tradiciones Slow Food Community, and is now held weekly. The Community is made up of 19 producers (corresponding to almost 14 farms) who did not have a fixed place to sell their products.
The Mercado de la Tierra operates within a tourist-production enterprise called “La Vigna Ecolifestyle”. The complex includes an inn, a dairy and an organic cheese factory where sheep, goat and cow cheeses are produced.
The Market’s special feature is its atmosphere: customers can take advantage of the morning to visit the organic garden, watch the farm animals (ducks, chickens, pigs, cows, goats, and sheep) and enjoy the surrounding space. The market offers a wide variety of products: from raw milk cheeses to sourdough bread made with artisanal flours, traditional bricelets (typical local biscuits made with eggs, flour, sugar, butter and lemon zest). There are also fruit and vegetables, preserves and jams, aromatic herbs, teas and native medicinal herbs, plants and flowers.
The Earth Market is completely different from normal city markets. The producers are the real protagonists: they sell their products with pride, share their knowledge and spread the love for what they do. Saturday mornings in Colonia are held to the rhythm of music, games and conversation. Everything takes place outdoors and in contact with nature. There is a positive and contagious energy that encourages people to take care of the planet.
The market can be reached by car, bicycle, bus or on foot and ample parking is available.
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