A Chance to Visit a Mazatlán Organic Farm

v1Just over four years ago, we had the opportunity to go to the community of Guillermo Prieto on the outskirts of San Ignacio and visit the totally organic and innovative farm of Sacramento, one of the regular vendors at Mazatlán’s Organic Market (or MOM for short).

Now, you all have a chance to do the same thing, coming up on Sunday, March 13. This event is coordinated by Verónica Rico, one of the founders and motivating forces behind MOM. At 8:30 a.m., guests will be taken by bus from Plaza Zaragoza to Guillermo Prieto, where you will be shown up close and personal how Sacramento and her team work, teach, learn and live. Highlights include: the water collection system, creation of compost, worms, and the gardens where they grow their beautiful produce.

Later, you will enjoy lunch / brunch in the fields with organic produce, prepared by Sacramento and her team. The cost is only 380 pesos, including the transportation, tour and lunch. You should be back in Mazatlán around 3:00 p.m. or so. This is a great way to understand the origin of organic produce in a small local farm and the people who grow them!

Here is a link to our tour in 2012. I can only imagine how much they have grown since then. Here are a few shots from a similar tour in 2013:

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You can write to Verónica Rico at mazmercadoorganico@hotmail.com or give her a call at 6691-48-4010 for any questions. Verónica speaks English fluently. Tickets will be available at the Organic Market in the Plazuela Zaragoza this coming Saturday from 8:00 to noon.

This is an opportunity that does not come along very often and we encourage you to go if you are able.

More information and updates are available on the MOM Facebook page.

San Ignacio: Lovely mountain town one hour from Mazatlán

One of the reasons we came to live in Mazatlán is our compadres, the Valverde family. Daniel has been Greg’s best friend since they both were sixteen, working up in the SF Bay area. Daniel and his family are originally from San Ignacio, and many of his family members and dear friends have worked for Greg up north over the decades. Greg began to travel down to Mazatlán with Daniel on holidays, staying in the house Daniel built for his mother. They would often travel out to San Ignacio, to the rancho, to visit family and friends. Over the years they have become family to us. Danny dearly loves his tíos and cousins, and not so long ago we went to San Ignacio with Mariana and Rubén, Daniel’s sister and brother-in-law, to visit the dentista loco and his wife, Irma, also good friends.

San Ignacio (de Loyola) is a lovely small town about 60 miles north of Mazatlán, entered through the typical scenic gate, and with a walled church on the central square, as is so normal in the small towns of México. It was founded in 1633 by the Jesuit priest, Diego González de Cueto, and is currently home to about 4500 people. San Ignacio was originally called Piaxtla, after the indigenous people who lived there. It is a colonial mission town, with the Jesuit Misión de Santa Apolonia established there in 1748.

Like most of the small mountain towns near Mazatlán, San Ignacio was a mining town, rich in silver, gold and copper. Today, life on Constitution Square and in the streets of San Ignacio is laid-back yet vibrant. Many of the colonial French and Spanish style buildings are still standing, and the landscape is lush. The main church is called, of course, San Ignacio de Loyola, and a second church in town is Our Lady of the Nativity. There are hot springs, though our friends have never taken us to them.

What stands out during a visit to San Ignacio is the huge statue of Jesus Christ up on the hill, hands outstretched in a similar manner to the famous statue in Rio. You can easily view this landmark from the main square, and the views out from the statue on top of the hill are truly breathtaking.

I’ve always wanted to go to San Ignacio for Good Friday. They do a remarkable, community-wide reenactment of the crucifixion. The event attracts hundreds of people, so hotel reservations need to be made far in advance. The one hotel I know of in town is the Anjolin, which is fairly new with modern amenities.

hotel

What we have done quite often is to go down to the river. It’s very pleasant, the views are open and the water is crystal clear. In summer the riverfront is one big party: trucks, horses, food carts and stalls, and of course, lots of beer.

As you drive into San Ignacio, there’s a great little restaurant on the left side of the road, Cuata’s. I’ve written about this place previously, and we highly recommend it (very rustic, as you can see). We highly recommend a trip to San Ignacio for a change of pace and some beautiful scenery. Next time we are definitely checking out the hot springs!

Driving Directions
Head northwest towards Culiacan on highway 15 — the free (libre) road — for 43 miles to Coyotitán, where there is an exit for San Ignacio. You’ll turn right and proceed about 20 miles up into the lush Sierra Madre foothills to reach San Ignacio.

Religious Tourism in Mazatlán and the Nearby Towns During Holy Week

Crucifix over MZT

I took this photo during the Vía Crucis/Stations of the Cross of PAJUMA Mazatlán (Diocesan youth group). It is taken from the top of the lighthouse after the celebration of an open-air mass. Unfortunately this event does not happen every year.

When I arrived in México I couldn’t wait to participate in some of the incredible Holy Week religious events that I had so long heard about and seen—especially those that re-create Jesus’ long walk to the cross, the Via Dolorosa.

Because our son is still in school, we can’t travel while classes are in session. So, we take advantage of the school break to see some of this gorgeous country, and thus we are usually out of town and miss these great events locally. We have had the pleasure of participating in Holy Week ceremonies in the states of Chihuahua (Copper Canyon) with the Tarahumara, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, and Michoacán among a few others…

Do you know that there is a long tradition of beautiful Holy Week events right here in Mazatlán and the surrounding towns? Kindly, our friends over at Mazatlán Interactivo have agreed to permit us to use their photos and legwork to share with you some of what is available right here in southern Sinaloa.

The biggest events locally take place on Good Friday, which this year falls on March 29, 2013. The reenactments of the crucifixion are generally held late in the morning. These involve members of local parishes dressing up in period costume and acting out the 14 Stations of the Cross. This can get very graphic, with realistically simulated whipping, nailing of hands and feet, and bleeding. It is a beautiful and very moving sight to behold, and I highly recommend you experience it. The actors’ lines come directly from Bible verses.

In some communities there is also a Procession of Silence  after darkness sets in on Good Friday. Members of the community process through the streets holding lit candles and religious relics. Often there is solemn music and the procession is followed by a mass.


Mazatlán
Here in Mazatlán the Diocesan youth group annually conducts PAJUMA (Pascua Juveníl de Mazatlán) a three-day event that takes place in the baseball stadium Estadio Teodoro Mariscal on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday (March 28-30, 9 am – 7 pm each day). The full three days’ attendance is only 50 pesos, and there is no age limit on participation. The kids reenact the crucifixion of Christ there in the stadium and then, still fully dressed, process from the stadium to the cathedral.

MARCH 29, Good Friday, 5:00 pm
Procession of Silence
PAJUMA participants will leave the baseball stadium at 5:00 and head out to the cathedral of the Immaculate Conception downtown, passing by the Aquarium, along the malecón (not many places in the world you can see a Way of the Cross enacted along the oceanfront!), the Fisherman’s Monument, and the pangas in Playa Norte. The procession will then turn left and go down through Plaza Zaragoza to the cathedral.

MARCH 30, Holy Saturday, 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm
Mass of the Resurrection of our Lord, and then the closing of Pascua Juveníl de Mazatlán. Entrance is free after 5:00.

Pretty much every church in the city will have Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, and a vigil with foot washing Thursday evening. Plus, of course, Easter mass. Some congregations reenact the Vía Crucis as well; check with your local parish. Mouseover a photo above to view the caption, or click on one to view the slideshow.

Cosalá (172 km from MZT)
MARCH 29, Good Friday, 11:00 am
Traditional Stations of the Cross, in the church

MARCH 29, Good Friday, 7:00 pm
Procession of Silence

Mouseover a photo below to view the caption, or click on one to view the slideshow.

 

Malpica (Concordia; 38 km from MZT)
MARCH 29, Good Friday, 11:00 am
Reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ, starting from the moment Judas Iscariot kisses him and Jesus is apprehended into custody in the Garden of Gesthemane.

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Viacrucis escénica en Malpica. Photo courtesy Mazatlán Interactivo

Matatán (Rosario; 82 km from MZT)
MARCH 29, Good Friday, 11:00 am
Reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ as he made his way to Golgotha.

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Viacrucis representativa en San Ignacio. Photo courtesy Mazatlán Interactivo

San Ignacio (111 km from MZT)
Our good friends, the reason we ended up loving and living in Mazatlán in the first place, are originally from San Ignacio. It is a gorgeous small town with a huge image of Christ on the hill.

MARCH 29, Good Friday, 11:00 am
Reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ, the Via Dolorosa or Way of the Cross.

MARCH 29, Good Friday, 7:00 pm
Procession of Silence (with music)

Mouseover a photo below to view the caption, or click on one to view the slideshow.

Teacapán (Escuinapa; 130 km from MZT)
MARCH 29, Good Friday, 10:00 am
Reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ and his walk to Calvary.

Could You Cook Your Holiday Dinner Here?

foodWe recently had the very good pleasure of traveling to our friend’s hometown, San Ignacio, Sinaloa. It’s just over an hour from Mazatlán. On the way we stopped for one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a long, long time. The meal was at Cuata’s, just south of San Ignacio. I had stewed ribs with nopales, and Greg had carne asada/grilled beef. It was accompanied by the most marvelous queso fresco — panela cheese, and the mooooooosssst glorious homemade blue corn tortillas ever!

Now, surely this wonderful meal, made with items from a stew pot, griddle, and grill, came out of a well stocked and well staffed kitchen. Indeed it did, though it was a kitchen that many chefs might find challenging to work in. More power to the cook! Cuata’s kitchen, without gas, electricity or running fresh water, was a Christmas reminder to me that sometimes simple is best!

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To keep Cuata company as she cooks, there are several pet pericos.

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Heartiest of heartfelt holiday wishes to all our readers. I am grateful for good friends, beloved family, open-air awesome restaurants like Cuata’s, the good health to be able to enjoy food like she serves, and the ability to share a bit of our lives with you. Thank you for being here with us!