New facility is big boost for Atenas farmers market

By Thomas Ropp
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The voices tell the story.

On a typical Friday morning at the Atenas farmers market you will hear a conglomerate of languages, everything from Spanish to Mandarin as well as English, French and German.

After 19 years, the outdoor market continues to attract expats, tourists and residents. On Aug. 28, 2014, the Feria del Agricultor as it is known, significantly upgraded from the cracked and uneven sidewalks bordering the elementary school in central Atenas to a modern, spacious pavilion up on a hill overlooking the radial road that connects Highway 27 to Atenas.

“The facilities here are incredible,” said Bernal González, a frequent feria visitor and resident of Atenas.

González and his wife, Dayán Bertarioni, were at the market with their daughters Tamara and Samantha. The family especially likes the quality and prices of the feria’s fruits and vegetables. On this morning they were leaving with a beautiful red-flowered mata plant chosen by 6-year-old Tamara.

The 54,000 square foot facility with its weatherproof red tile roof and cement floor accommodates 80 vendors. The pavilion sits on about five mostly paved acres with parking for 300 vehicles.

Feria official Alonso Alvarado Méndez said since moving, market vendors are collectively pulling in around $30,000 per market day.

One vendor who really appreciates the modern pavilion is Atenas resident Rodríguez Chavarría. He and his wife, Isabel Alfredo, have sold their watermelons, melons and mangos at the feria since it began. Chavarría said he makes about $100 more per day at the new location.

On this morning his fruit stand was swamped with buyers eyeing over his ruby red freshly cut watermelons selling for only 600 colons per kilo.

The Atenas feria offers the usual farmers market products: fruits, vegetables, nuts, meats, desserts, plants and gifts. But you can also find some unexpected items.

Like Tupperware.

Atenas vendor Rosario Vargas Ulate has been selling her plastic containers at the feria for two months and is pleased with the sales.

“December has been a very good month for me,” said Ms. Ulate who notes that local Ticos tend to buy more Tupperware than other groups.

The feria also has a large, clean soda with excellent coffee and ample room to enjoy breakfast or a midmorning snack.

The bathrooms are also very nice.

The cost to move the feria to its new, modern facilities was about $640,000 and funded by the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia, the Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social and the Centro Agrícola Cantonal de Atenas.

Normally the market opens at 6 a.m. on Fridays. However, due to the holidays, the next two ferias will be held this Wednesday and Dec. 30.

For more information readers can call the Centro Agricola Cantonal de Atenas secretary Karen Mata at 2446-9033 or email

The Atenas feria in full swing Friday morning.

The Atenas feria in full swing Friday morning.

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