Recently I learned that Greenfield in southern Monterey County has one of the highest concentrations of indigenous Oaxacans on the Central Coast. Conservative estimates start at 4,000 and range to more than 5,000 for the number of Triquis and Mixtecs in this agricultural town of less than 18,000 inhabitants. Naturally this had me jonesing for a visit to try to find some Oaxacan-style eats.
My last visit to the area was exactly four years ago, when I regretted not having more time to check out the town. At that time, I did find El Oaxaqueño in Gonzales to the north where the proprietor told me that the area was home to many Oaxacans.
El Oaxaqueño, Gonzales (and Greenfield mention), July 2004
Dave MP reported last year on the excellent tacos he found at the stand at La Princesa, which sadly, seems to be no more.
Dave MP on Tacos at La Princesa Market, February 2007
Greenfield was still bubbling up in the back of my mind. When I was invited to participate in a discussion of farmers markets issues here, I was primed for a new look at the town to try to find some Oaxacan specialties.
I got in early to have a chance to take a look around before the meeting time. Greenfield is one of California’s fastest growing cities, and it was larger than I remembered with new commercial development on the southside and some infill along the El Camino Real strip as well.
My first stop was Martinez Tortilleria y Panaderia. Mostly a grocery store, it does have a small case of donuts and pan dulces baked here. I tried a cupcake dense with cheese ($1). It was on the dry side, and I thought it would be better enjoyed later with a berry sauce.
I walked over to La Plaza, a small local chain that operates up and down the Salinas Valley. The selection of baked goods here is far more extensive, as well as offering savories and a place to sit.
La Plaza Bakery & Cafe
At the meeting I learned that the Greenfield Farmers Market opens today, Saturday, July 5, 2008. Hours are 9am to 1pm. The site is Palm Avenue between El Camino Real and 10th (one block north of Oak Avenue, the exit off Hwy 101). This is a grassy and paved shaded area comprising Hicks Park adjacent to the public library and the vacant lot designated as the future home of the Tom Rogers museum. Last year’s attempts at a farmer’s market failed, and considerable work has gone into revamping for a success this year under the newly appointed economic development director, Paul Mugan, and an energetic farmers market manager.
Fourteen vendors have committed to the opening, including five local farmers. Unique to this market will be booths from the Triqui community and the Mixtec community offering Oaxacan-style weavings and textiles. I was forewarned that the textile booths might not be ready for the first few weeks. Also, the market’s has applied to accept EBT (food stamps) to make healthy food accessible to a greater part of the community. The application is still pending, but should be in place in the near future. I’m sorry that I couldn’t be there on the first day and would love to hear from anyone who visits this farmers market.
I also heard about the upcoming Oaxacan community festival on Sunday, July 13. Here’s the report from last year’s event, http://www.ci.greenfield.ca.us/Oaxaca...
Afterwards, I cruised the main drag, El Camino Real, and also two side streets to pick my lunch place. Here are links to my posts on lunch at El Molcajete and dessert at Tropical.
Lunch at El Molcajete
Tropical Ice Cream & Deli
More about what I found along the way later.
Slideshow of Greenfield’s chow landscape (click on bottom edge of photos for captions)
Isolated by Language: The Indigenous Oaxacans of Greenfield, CA
by Jen Wheeler | Holiday baking season means lots of cookies, and we have plenty of great Christmas cookie recipes...
by Jen Wheeler | At Christmas time, there are cookies galore, but true dessert lovers still crave something more substantial...
by Mijon Zulu | Want some crack? I mean, crackle? People who have had it love it and it takes less than an hour to...
by Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy | Since August 4 is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, we rounded up the very best chocolate chip cookie...