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1 ton of veggies served as trading post turns 34

By: Zaldy Comanda and Liza Agoot/PNA

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – A total of 1.3 tons of assorted fresh vegetables were prepared and served yesterday to highlight the 34th anniversary of the vegetable trading post in this town where all agricultural produce from all parts of the Cordillera are brought and traded prior to transport to different markets nationwide.

A total of 160 kilos of romaine lettuce, 160 kilos of carrots, 160 kilos cucumber, 150 kilos sugar beets, 180 kilos tomatoes, 150 kilos marble potato, and 30 kilos of alfalfa, broccoli, and cauliflower were prepared and shredded, ready to be eaten on a giant container measuring 20×32 feet x 35 inches deep.

Jonathan Micua, SKD Academy La Trinidad Campus Director, said 60 professional and student chefs from the culinary school prepared the salad’s ingredients, including three kinds of dressing.

Those who came to partake of the sumptuous fresh vegetables had a choice between mango salad dressing, strawberry salad dressing, and the balsamic vinaigrette.

For the two fruit salad dressings, eight liters of orange juice, four liters of rice vinegar, two kilos of sugar, salt, and pepper, and five liters of freshly squeezed lime juice and 30 kilos of ripe mango for the mango dressing and 30 kilos of strawberries for the strawberry dressing were used.

Micua said shredding started early in the morning to beat the 10 a.m. preparation at the giant serving dish. “We only have one hour to prepare everything at the venue because we had to start serving at 11 a.m. to maintain the freshness of the dressings.”

He said a total of 2,000 visitors partook of the salad, each getting a full plate of fresh vegetables.

Nora Ganase, President of the League of Association at La Trinidad Trading Area who conceptualized and led her group in the preparation, said it was a joint effort of all the 14 associations at the trading area, composed of the packers, porters, farmers, buyers, and even supporters.

“We want to emphasize the difference of the Cordillera produced vegetables from the imported ones to educate our consumers,” she said.

A locally produced carrot is crunchier, juicier, and tastier compared to the dry imported ones.

She said they initially planned to set a Guinness record but opted to have a smaller version to be able to first prepare before they attempt to break the 20,100 kilograms record obtained by Russia in 2016.

“The municipal government is passing an ordinance institutionalizing the annual conduct of the activity and we hope to vie for the biggest vegetable salad next year,” Ganase said.

Mayor Romeo Salda thanked the vegetable industry stakeholders in his town for coming up with the activity. He reiterated the importance of government and private sector partnership to improve the town.

The trading post, the busiest district in Benguet’s capital town, was established in July 13, 1984 as a venue for bulk traders of highland agricultural products.