Perfectly situated in the center of the city is Santiago’s artistic heart, Barrio Lastarria. Since the mid 19th century this quaint neighborhood alongside Santa Lucia hill has been home to many of Chile’s movers and shakers, including president Pedro Aguirre Cerda, Victoria Subercasseux and its namesake, writer and liberal Jose Victorino Lastarria.
When in Lastarria it’s easy to see why Santiago has been chosen as the world’s third favorite city. Located only steps from La Catolica subway station, this historic neighborhood boasts numerous sidewalk cafes, bars, restaurants and cinemas housed in some of the best architecture from the 19th and 20th centuries, including Luciano Kulczewski’s iconic castle workshop.
On any given day in the Plaza Mulato Gil you’re likely to find mimes feigning love, musicians playing droning sitars or blues harmonica, or young artists selling paintings and screen prints by the evening lamplight.
Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. onward the classic Antique and Book Market takes over the wide stone walkway, stalls brimming over with clocks forever frozen in time, cryptic playing cards, coins bearing the visage of heroes long forgotten, and dusty book jackets with prices written in the yellowing inner margins.
In keeping with its humanistic spirit, Lastarria has now also added to its plethora of offerings an Organic Farmer’s Market every Wednesday and Saturday from 10am – 4pm.
The market offers a wide array of organic produce, soy milk, eggs, quinoa, chocolate, coffee, tea, honey, olives, wine and even fresh organic dairy milk. Also on hand are natural skin, hair and facial beauty products.
As if that weren’t enough, there are product samplings, flash cooking demos, workshops and talks on subjects such as how to plant your organic garden and organic composting.
“The organic market is an experience,” says founder Paula Casanova. “Now with Lastarria we’re in an ideal location, there are parks nearby for picnicking and eating healthy. It’s the old shell of the city, surrounded by art and cultural activities. Little by little we’re organizing educational talks and we’re creating spaces for the ongoing conversations about organic culture.”
For those of you that want to make sure you get everything you need, just go to the Organic Market website and request a basket filled with the produce you love. It is easy being green after all.