When the rainy season comes, Cusco breaths a soft aroma of wet earth. You see green fields and pastures outside the city, filled with life, You also see the house gardens ad the orchard that let off the fresh scent of plum, peach, and pear leaves. The fruit hangs from branches looking ever riper and filled with sweetness. One now knows it is the season.
In the Imperial city’s markets the fruit section always has oranges, mandarines, grafted fruit, red and green apples, bananas, grapes, strawberries, and more. The fruit comes from the many different regions of Peru, classified into coast, highlands, and jungle. The markets bring all the fruit together in order to provide for our population.
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays the fruit arrives beginning at 4 am in the Huamcaro market. Trucks bring it from Limatambo, the Sacred Valley, La Convenciòn, Qosñipata. They come filled with a whole variety of seasonal fruit. The vendors go to this wholesale market and buy fruit to then sell it in all the city’s markets, San Pedro, Wanchac, Cascaparo, Ttio, Rosaspata, San Blas.
There are also caseras, vendors, who leave home early and push carts through the streets to offer plums, peaches, and more. They offer this fruit seasonally and sell it by kilos or by smaller units such as a small mound. If you buy the fruit individually, washed plums cost 1.50/S for five plums put in a small bag.
I remember when I would go to school. My friends and I would meet to walk together. Along the way there was a park that would only wake up with the rains. We would also pause, as if we were birds, to snitch fruit from trees. The abundance of sweet and sour plums would make us play and race each other. He who won would get the best of the ripe fruit. I would always arrive home with my back pack filled with books, notebooks, and plums. On seeing the plums my mother would yell at me with worry.
Now when I rest myself on the trunk of a plum tree, I look at the fruit and at the clouds and high sky behind them. I also look at the plums in the caseras’ carts. I remember with great joy and nostalgia those not too far distant times. The sky is not the same, but the sweet and sour flavor of the plums makes me remember.
This time of the year many fairs will be carried out in the plazas and markets of the city of Cusco. You will see drinks and sweets for sale, all made from pears, blanquillos (a small peach), and peaches. Their sweet flavor has no comparison.