The farmers of 23 communities annually in September exhibit the fruits that are part of the province’s gastronomy. They also hold competitions to see who gets the largest species. “What the earth gives us is sacred, therefore the sacred is the food.”
With this phrase, Alfonso Zambrano Rodríguez proudly shows an enormous yucca (1.25 long), one of the most gigantic that the farmers of the lower area of the Portoviejo river valley have seen so far. The yucca, harvested by Zambrano Rodríguez in the Alama community, was part of the variety of vegetables, fruits and vegetables, ancestral products of the Manabi gastronomy, which were exhibited at the second agricultural fair that took place in the Danzarín community (Manabí center), on September 16.
The people arrived loaded with the products that they harvest in the plots that in the low zone are bathed by the waters of the Portoviejo river. This water corridor was born at the foot of the Poza Honda dam, located in the upper part of the Santa Ana canton.
The largest cocoa pod was exhibited at the Danzarín peasant fair.
Together with the Nicasio Zambrano Giler Educational Unit, the Agricultural Association, in the upper area of Rocafuerte, in Danzarín, adapted a space to welcome the producers.
It was a whole party Zambrano Rodríguez arrived loaded with his yucca that had four ramifications. “The tuber surprised the attendees, it seemed that it was from another planet, the truth has never seen anything similar in many years, especially since the rains are intermittent,” said Rafael Cevallos, who arrived from the Yellow Lands.
Zambrano said that the large cassava was underground for about a year. “My son, who lives in Manta, brought me the seed; I watered it with little water every day, I never thought it would grow so much, but there it is; It’s my pride. “
A papaya 55 centimeters long by 20 centimeters in diameter was the largest among the fruits.
Fernando Llerena, a farmer in the Tres Charcos area, was satisfied because the fruit is part of his family garden. “The work in the land is our inheritance, it comes from generation to generation, it provides us with the food that the families that inhabit the margins of the Portoviejo river need.” A land full of contrasts Rocafuerte is characterized because its land serves for survival, in some areas it hardly rains once a year.
Danzarin is a sample of how you can live, although the earth is dry. Johnny Mendoza is the president of the Association of Farmers in the area. Although the rains are scarce, we harvest over 5,000 hectares of corn, it is enough for the rains. We also collect rainwater in our albarradas that are like the open-air cisterns owned by the owners of the land, Mendoza said. Each year the corn generates an average of $ 11 million per harvest, all thanks to the liquid from the albarradas, he said.
The researcher of gastronomy and food in Manabi, Fanny Vergara, says that grains, fruits and vegetables are present since pre-Columbian times. Yucca, squash, sweet potatoes, corn and peanuts have always been the basis of our ancestors’ diet, she said.
Rocafuerte, being in the center of the province, becomes the axis of varied production. It is where the inhabitants of the cultures, like the Manteña, always had a pantry in the valley of the Portoviejo river when being bathed by this water corridor. Here the history of the province was written, where its gastronomy was a prominent factor that lasts in our days, said Vergara.
Byron Cobeña, from the San Antonio sector, is a lover of squash crops. Yuccas and large pumpkins were shown at the fair. He exhibited one of his most curious specimens. “It’s not about a pumpkin. This is elongated, sometimes we harvest it that way, it can measure almost one meter long “. He also showed his giant cocoa cob, almost 50 centimeters. He considers that his ancestors reaped the biggest ones, because that is what one of his grandparents had told him. (I)