We arrive at the market at 5:30, and we are here until 9. We haven’t missed more than a Saturday in the eight years we’ve been coming.
One day a week they leave our work in the field to sell horchata, a drink made from barley and natural herbs grown in our fields. The market is a fun job. It breaks the routine, clears the mind. We’re around more people, who become our friends. We produce the horchata from a recipe we invented.
We started at the market by selling guinea pigs. In a meeting, they said they wanted things to eat, and we said we would make something up. We thought we would make horchata. At first, it didn’t have a good flavor, but little by little we improved, improved, improved. Now we’ve had much success. People look for us and come with pots to buy in bulk.
We sell the horchata for 40 cents a glass and can earn about $150 in a day. It is a source of income. It helps with the costs of school for my son and food for home. We will not stop coming to the fair. You have to make a living, and this is a source of income. The work isn’t hard here—not as hard as agriculture, where you harvest and wait six months to collect. Here, you come on Saturdays and you already have something for the family. With the sharing of resources, we can buy the ingredients for the horchata: flaxseed, acacia gum, sugar, as well as the herbs we have.
Editor's Note: Mother and daughter, Ana and Berta Hidalgo, have been selling at the Saturday market, organized by the Union of Agroecological Producer Organizations and Trade in Tungurahua (PACAT) with the help of Heifer Ecuador, in Pachano de Ambato plaza for eight years.