Monday, January 31, 2011

농부장터 / The Farmer's Marketplace

Do you ever get jealous of your friends back home? Not the ones still living in the same old town working some boring desk job, but the ones who look forward to twice-weekly farmers' markets in the spring and a box of fresh CSA veggies delivered right to their doorstep every other Thursday? Have you ever been frustrated by HomePlus's miniscule organic section, crammed back into one corner next to the Kraft salad dressings? And have you noticed that the organic produce fades seamlessly into the standard, so that it's hard to be sure which is which?

If such things frustrate you, consider visiting 농부장터 (The Farmer's Marketplace), located near the Dongchon-dong Community Center (동천동 주민센터) in Chilgok Residential District 3 (칠곡3지구). Managed - though he insists that he doesn't own it - by Mr. Kim Gi-su, the Nongbu Jangteo is perhaps the closest thing you'll find to a CSA in Gyeonbook province, carrying a variety of products from environmentally-friendly farms, communities, and collectives of various sorts. Mr. Kim guarantees the producers that he'll purchase a certain percent of their output and pays them in advance, then passes whatever he receives on to those who visit his shop.

Products for sale include:

Different varieties of rice (white, brown, mixed grain)
Different varities of pulses (red and green peas, split and whole)
Other grains (barley, popcorn kernels)
Noodles (white, whole wheat, sweet potato, thick, thin)

Standard "Korean stuff" (soy sauces, sesame oils, pepper pastes, bean pastes, seaweeds)
Nuts (raw and roasted peanuts, walnuts, pine nuts)

Household products (loofa sponges, dish soap, multi-purpose cleaner)
Hygiene products (soaps, shampoos, lotions)

Prepared foods (dumplings, snacks, cookies, crackers, jams)
Various types and cuts of meat, eggs, and milk.
Drinks (rasperry wine, plum wine, Korean grape wine, juice do-it-yourself makkeoli kits)

And, let's not forget, seasonal fruits and vegetables. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, lotus roots, garlic, onions, apples, persimmons, jujubes, pears, tangerines, and who knows what else. All organic or low-pesticide or pesticide-free or locally grown or processed! Money spent at Nongbu Jangteo either stays in the community or goes to support someone not too far away doing their best to serve both us and the dirt at the same time.

In addition to selling all this great stuff, Mr. Kim works hard to connect city-dwellers like ourselves to the farmers and land we depend on. When the season is right, customers can accompany Mr. Kim to meet and work with some of the farmers who provide the store's stock. He also organizes field trips to farms for elementary schoolers to teach them about where their food comes from and how it's made. Come spring, DGL hopes to go along!

So, if you're interested in healthy food, healthy land, healthy people, and healthy communities, drop by and support a responsible local business.

Address: Daegu, Buk-gu, Dongcheon-dong 932-1
Landmarks: Daedong bridge, Dongcheon-dong Community Center.
15 minutes on foot from Chilgok HomePlus or 7Valley.
Buses: Buk-gu 1 to Dongcheon-dong Community Center; 726 to Hwaseong Central park; 708 to Nonghyeop Buk-gu Jiso
Hours: Daily, 09:00-22:30
Phone: 053-421-0909

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  1. This is so great. I just finished Sogang University's 1A course so I not able to find much on Korean sites without friends.

    I am an ominivore dealing with the dilemna of what can I eat that will be ecological. I don't support factory farming. I too am trying to support my local farmers and the markets.

    This gives me more options.

    Hopefully people like us can build a community of support for organic and local produce so omnis, veggies, and vegans can support a local environment. We need the options available first though, right?

    Are you going to the fermentation celebration Saturday? I'll be there with jars of both vegan and omni-kimchi.

    Anyway keep it up.


  2. Greg,

    I didn't get your comment until after the Fermentation Celebration - awesome that you managed to find me anyway! I'll do my best this week to get in tough with Heuksallim and see if they'll let me translate their brochure, and I'll see what I can do about designing foreigner- and vegan-friendly CSA packages. Exciting times!