Second weekend coming up for pejibaye festival

The annual pejibaye fair will go into its second and final weekend Friday in the small town of Tucurrique, east of the town Cartago.

Like the first half of the festival, the second weekend will feature three full days of live music, dancing, performances, a run of the bulls and as many of the town’s famous small palmnut fruits as visitors can stomach.

The Feria Nacional de Pejibaye, now in its 19th year, draws 25,000 people annually, according to the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.  The area produces about 400,000 kilos (880,000 pounds) of the small, starchy palm fruit.

The festival has been held annually since 1993, both in order to find new ways to use pejibayes and to sell the copious amounts that grow in the area, according to the ministry.

The fruit comes from a type of palm tree calledBactris gasipaes. Native people had been cultivating the pejibaye fruit for centuries before Europeans arrived. However, the fruit only grows at around 6,000 feet in elevation

The fruit is the shape of a tear drop and is either red, yellow or orange, like small bell peppers except with a large seed in the middle. It is often referred to as a peach palm, but it lacks the sweetness of a peach and tastes more like a potato.

It is edible but unpopular raw. As a result, it is often eaten like a potato either stewed or boiled, cut in half and eaten with a dollop of mayonnaise in the seed depression. The fruit can be used to make fermented drinks and jams, or it can be ground into flour and used to make pastries, bread. Find the editor’s preferred method HERE!/

Although the mountain biking competition, the men’s bull riding competition and the running of the bulls “a la tica” took place last weekend, this weekend will feature another running of the bulls, a bull riding competition for women.

Additionally, the festival will include more local live music, dancing, and pejibaye prepared in all ways imaginable.

The festival is being held in the Centro Agricola Cantonal de Jiménez in Tucurrique all day Friday through Sunday.

The town is about 14 kilometers (9 miles) east of Cartago on the way to Turrialba. Normally it is  about a 30-kilometer drive from Cartago along Ruta 225, but the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad announced that route 225 is closed and recommended that drivers take Ruta 10 to Turrialba and backtrack or take Ruta 224 to the south.

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