Mirebalais, one of Haiti’s oldest towns, has been a nodal point for commerce and agriculture for almost 300 years. Now, it accommodates a modern teaching hospital, Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais while sustaining a large hinterland of farmers through a densely packed and active market.
We visited its stalls to get a sense of market values for coffee and other cash crops and produce – many of the Zanmi Kafe families in Bois Jolie and Blanchard may ultimately bring their products here, and it helps to have a sense of how the project translates in real terms.
Despite the heat and hustle, it was lovely to see how vendors laid out their stock. This particular stall was selling rapadou, a traditionally made raw sugar that is highly nutritious and has a distinct, toffee-like flavor. Each of these ‘logs’ is about three feet long and must have weighed at least 10lb. I’m eager to try this with some Haitian sock-brewed coffee.