Mercado Hildago


It would all start with my mother picking my brother and I from elementary school. We both attended primaria Miguel Hidalgo, a school named in honor of México’s founding father.

We would frequently head over to Mercado Hidalgo thereafter. My brother and I, always looked forward to that, since we knew my mom would probably buy us a coconut that we could eat while she did her fresh produce shopping. We loved the process of seeing the man from the coconut stand chop the top of the coconut with a machete and stick a straw in, so we could drink the juice. Once the juice was gone, we would hand back the coconut to the man so he could chop it in half and scrape the pulp out with a specific tool and then sprinkle dry chile, lime and salt to either a plastic bag or a plate for us to eat with a fork. We loved that.

That feeling now reflects in the form of nostalgia with me. That same emotion that I felt back then when I was 10 years old and my brother was 6, still lives in my soul and mind. Up to this point and recently, my wife and I started an artisan ice cream business. We converted a vintage trailer into a mobile parlor. Our flavors are Mexican inspired, that is the reasoning behind our name concept, Calexico Creamery. Mexican inspired ice cream with seasonal ingredients from both California and México. Due to this new venture and having been relocated from San Francisco back to San Diego; I once again had this connection with Mercado Hidalgo, a market that carries the same namesake as my elementary school.

At this point, we were purchasing ingredients such as chocolate and mole, from Oaxaca, Guerrero and Puebla, vanilla bean pods from the tropical areas of Veracruz and Puebla and dried chiles from the interior of México. All found in this market.

This is the reason now, why I feel obligated and moved to share this beautiful resource amongst the chaos of my beloved Tijuana. A market that was inspired by traditional haciendas in the interior of the republic, that not only offers fresh produce but additionally taps into the beating heart of Mexican culture. When for many Mexicans in Tijuana, this remains forgotten because they look up to their big brother in the U.S. and aspire to the commodities of processed goods and air-conditioned markets like Calimax, Comercial Mexicana, Walmart, Costco and who knows what else.

I don’t believe that by happenstance I came in search of an article to the Market and instead I discovered that on October 15 of 2015, they would celebrate their 60th anniversary.

I personally believe, it was mainly because of this central open air market in Tijuana; that an important part of our culture persists. Not only here, but everywhere in México. Through food, tradition lives and the most important cities of each state, have a market like such.
 These daring merchants from Mercado Hidalgo made treacherous drives years ago, thru narrow roads and mountains, in trucks; to bring quality produce with them in search of a central Mexico they missed when they migrated. They not only brought produce but they brought their huaraches, petates, molcajetes, hoyas de barro, hand made piñatas and whatever else they needed to preserve and endure with tradition; right in the middle of one of the most important borders in the world.