Cuzco’s month of celebration began. under an intense son. In that bright light and heat nothing is better to calm, refresh, and sweeten the season, than the epoch’s traditional sugar cane and its faithful companion coconut.
They come from far off Tacna, on the border with Chile, to the wholesale market called Huancaro, where they are available from the months of June through the end of August. From Huancaro they are distributed to all the retail markets of the city. The price charged to the retail sellers is relatively economical.
The women who sell coconut and sugar cane in the market and on the streets, called caseras, leave home very early to carry their purchased products throughout the city, on some streets as well as around and in the city’s markets. They also sell int eh fairs and festivals carried out during this festive time of year. They offer whole coconuts and whole canes, or both sold in slices, or in small bags with a price of one sol. The whole coconut is priced according to its size. Large ones run three soles.
Sugar cane is very refreshing. Its sweetness is ideal to slake the thirst of people walking down Cuzco’s sunny streets. You can drink it as juice, from one of the vendors who crush it and serve you a fresh glass, or you can chew a piece. In either case, be prepared for refreshment and a shot of energy.
However, coconut is also a wonderful way to crush thirst. Vendors are happy to poke a open a nut and stick a straw in for you to pull out the delicious, fresh, and cool coconut milk.
With the flesh of the coconut, vendors make many things to tempt you as you pass by, such as cocadas(macaroons), cookies, sweets and other deserts. But you can always buy pieces and walk down the street munching away at fresh coconut. It is a revelation.
My father loves both sugar cane and coconut. I remember that when I was young he would bring home coconut and sugar cane for the whole family. My sister, brother and I would almost jump for joy when they would arrive, since these products only come this time of the year and are not available otherwise.
My father would arrive in the afternoon, around sunset. My brother, sister, and I waited anxiously for him to get home so we could enjoy the gifts.
We slurped the juice from the coconuts right away, saving the empty nut for later. The next morning, hammer in hand, we would break its hard shell in pieces and then tale them with us to school as a snack. We were not alone. Many of our mates would bring with them pieces of coconut and / or sugar cane.
June is the Jubilee month in Cuzco. There is an almost endless supply of events and festivities. Though they are fun, the sugar can and the juicy and tasty flavor of coconut make Cuzco’s month refreshing and sweet.