Skiffs of rain scatter over the city of Cuzco these days. When they crash to ground they leave the orange tiles wet and the streets gleaming with water. People complain about the cold and fear catching cold. Nevertheless, this is a time of increasing abundance.
The markets and the streets around them fill with fruit. Mangoes are in season and come up from the lowlands as do all other kinds of fruit, even apples make their way from the south.
This luxury of sweet and tart reminds us Cuzco sits at an ecological crossroads. Below it are the lowlands where mist seems to always rise and fruit grows everywhere, and above it are the highlands with seasonal fruits like the indigenous aguaymanto, a kind of husk cherry. It also is a transportation cross roads between its rural areas and the rest of Peru and between Brazil and the coast.
The richness surprises those of us from the lands of supermarkets with the never really ripe fruit shipped from half a world away. In Cuzco the tastes are like primary colors clean, sharp, and fine instead of the mud of the north, at the same time they hold a complexity of overtones that never make it across the waves.
One of the delights of Cuzco is a simple fruit salad. Putting yogurt on it with a dash of local honey is good, but it needs no dressing. Just the fruit alone makes the body stand up and want to dance. Another delight is the fresh juices produced from blenders throughout the city. Sometimes they are made with a single fruit, while other times blends make flavors that titillate. Cuzco is a city of fruit, including the strawberry that has indigenous roots here.
One can just enjoy a slice of pineapple or watermelon, peel an orange, or squeeze pulp and juice from a fresh mango right on the streets.
Though brought from farms nearby and farther away, they seem to just grow in Cuzco. Today we present a photo essay of fruit blossoming amidst the rain in Cuzco’s markets and streets.