Puerto Rico's Food Revival

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Courtesy of Mercado Agrícola Natural

Local produce gets a showcase

In the 113 years since it became a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico has gone from an agrarian society, ripe with coffee and bananas, to one that imports over 80% of all it consumes. The desire to reconnect to Puerto Rico's farming roots is consequently gaining traction — and nowhere more so than at San Juan's year-old Mercado Agrícola Natural.

Launched last year by a group of food activists in the colonnaded courtyard of the capital's neo-classical Museo de San Juan, the market kicks off every Saturday at 8 a.m. and lasts until 1 p.m. Live salsa fills the air and the stalls heave with mostly organic produce, breads and pastries. Small-batch cheeses, local coffee and homemade jams make for great souvenirs, and there are hearty wraps to take away. "Unlike most places, this is an island with year-round growing seasons," says Mercado co-organizer Laura Daen. Try the bounty for yourself; see mercadoagricolanatural.com for details.