Slow Food Yucatan, an open-air market that specializes in locally sourced provisions, was unexpectedly shut down this morning by state police and the health department.
“They said we were enticing people to come out of their homes,” reported one of the vendors.
No notice was posted by either the Slow Food organization or the authorities to clarify the incident.
The shutdown was a shock to operators who had gone to lengths to keep the market safe. Even today’s event had limited the vendors and asking visitors to keep their stays brief. Only one person per family was allowed at each market stall.
But that wasn’t enough to satisfy authorities.
“My understanding is that what happened this a.m. is that police and health officials acknowledged those vendors have legal permission to be there, but have asked them not to sell in person for the next few weeks while government wants people to stay home,” said a person familiar with the incident, which occurred around 11:30 a.m., two and -a-half hours after the day’s transactions had begun.
The double-standard that allows conventional food markets to operate, but not Slow Food, was not lost on some.
“I understand trying to keep people home, but they are still able to go to regular grocery stores no problem. But Slow Food, which is an outside market and is following all the contingency requirements, is not allowed to open,” said the owner of the small organic farm Rancho Haltun Xiki. “This causes problems for our vendors, especially the producers that have animals and staff to feed…producers were declared by the state as essential…well apparently we’re not.”
Founded in 2010, Slow Food Yucatan is part of an international network that began in Italy. In a space just off avenidas Colon and Reforma in García Ginerés, dozens of stalls set up each Saturday morning selling organic items including produce, honey, meats, eggs and coffee in addition to cut flowers and potted plants, artisanal cheeses, ethnic foods, vegetarian food, homemade baked goods, homemade pasta, sauces, dips, preserves and sausages.
Coronavirus contingencies closed the farmers and artisan markets at the beach, but Slow Food has continued under strict sanitation protocols and social distancing requirements that had already dampened the social aspect of the weekly gathering.
Additionally, a pick-up/home-delivery line, 999-640-0765, was established with orders taken Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. A list of items and prices is updated weekly and sent to customers.