For Josué Barona, the Mercado San Juan has always been part of his life: his mother and father both have stalls there, just around the corner from each other, and he has been working among the bustling food stands from a young age. While the stand that the now 35-year-old works at doesn’t really have a name – it is simply number 259 – many know it as Rosse Gourmet, the name he has given to the side of his business that sells edible flowers and micro greens.
“We have been selling edible flowers for the last ten years,” he tells us as he counts colorful pansies into plastic containers ready for a big order he was preparing to send out. “Before that, the flowers didn’t exist [for sale] like this in Mexico.” While some flowers have always been part of Mexican cuisine, the experimentation with others, traditionally seen as decorative and not for consumption, is a much newer concept.
Among his collection of edible blooms, there are nasturtiums, borage, onion buds and garlic flowers, wild cempasúchil, fennel flowers as well as some micro greens like pea and radish shoots. The colorful selection is slightly hidden within plastic boxes that keep them fresh. Josué Barona at his stall in Mercado San Juan, photo by Susannah Rigg Barona, who has his finger on the pulse of Mexico City’s food scene, noticed a decade ago that chefs and the creative bosses of restaurants were looking for flowers and began to investigate.
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