Edison residents contribute a vital economic, culinary, and nutritional force to the Kalamazoo Farmers Market. As vendors, as workers, as customers, as neighborhood activists, the people of Edison Neighborhood energize market activities in multiple ways.
This post comes to you as the first in series of upcoming features on Edison neighbors’ market activities over this market season. Here we begin with the market’s own “taco truck”.
Standing in line was well worth the wait: the bean and cheese pupusas were to die for! La Guatemalteca Tacos – the “taco truck” at the Kalamazoo Farmers Market – makes them fresh to order daily, along with more familiar items like tacos, burritos, quesadillas and more.
Sandra Lopez runs the taco truck, often with the help of her daughter, Nancy, and one additional worker. Once open for business on Saturdays, the taco team launches into a rapid but graceful flow of non-stop activity. (See photo below: Here a rare moment, the one photo of daughter and mother not blurred by their culinary choreography.)
The customers in line were demonstrating a great amount of patience as I tried to capture that still photo. Now was time to move on to La Guatemaleca’s second venue at the market, a table on the west side of the horseshoe, where sales of tamales, chips, salsa, and guacamole are brisk throughout the day. Pictured here are Abigail Ramirez and Aracely Flores, employees of the Cardona-Lopez family business.
Fortunately I had been able to catch Nancy, dona Sandra’s daughter, on a slightly-less-busy day during the week before, at the family’s grocery store Tienda Guatemalteca La Costenita, named so in honor of the family’s roots on the Pacific coast of Guatemala. Nancy’s father don Carlos Cardona was working on store accounts, in the office in back, and hence he could chime in helpfully as needed.
When asked who ran the taco truck, however, Nancy made it very clear that her mother was the master chef, and that she (Nancy) and the other workers followed orders. “My mother is a very popular women known for her cooking” both in and outside of Kalamazoo, she noted with a broad smile. Previous to arriving in Michigan, the family had lived in Nebraska, where “Mexican” cooking was already well established and ripe for their start-up food business to take hold in the U.S. Eventually, upon hearing there were few authentic Latino restaurants in the Kalamazoo area, they decided to make their move, establishing residence on Clinton Street and setting up a grocery store a few blocks away (now located on Burdick St. just south of Alcott).
And the taco truck? Today, in addition to being stationed at the Kalamazoo Farmers Market on Saturdays, it relocates to venues in Vicksburg, Battle Creek, and Texas Township on various days throughout the week.
If you enjoyed this story, please stay tuned for upcoming posts on other Edison neighbors at the market, as shoppers, workers, and volunteers from various walks of life. See you then…
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