A close up of Mercado's many built-in and mesh pockets.
Item: Mercado Market Bag
Price: $25.00 plus shipping
Overall Impression: A beautiful and practical market bag that also works as a picnic tote!
Many of the market totes available today can be attractive but they sometimes don't function very well. Unless we bring lots of plastic bags and plan our shopping trip very carefully, our precious strawberries and tomatoes often drift down to the bottom and everything collapses inward to squash and confuse things. What would happen if individual compartments were built into the bag, allowing you to carefully place and secure your beautiful produce? This Mercado bag from Quirky lets you do just that and at a great price point, too!
Interesting Backstory: The Mercado is a product from Quirky, a New York City based industrial design company that uses crowdsourcing to determine which products to design and manufacture. It was developed by food blogger Darya Pino (of Summer Tomato) and inventor Peter A. Wachtel with the market shopper in mind, as shown in the video below. (You can also read more about how the bag was developed on the Quirky blog.) The Mercado was just released a few weeks ago and I was thrilled when Quirky sent me a sample to test.
I took Mercado to the farmers' market two weeks running and then tossed it into the washer to see how it stood up. Here are my observations and conclusions.
Characteristics and Specs: The Mercado is made from unbleached cotton canvas with a pretty green cotton trim. One side of the bag is covered by two breathable mesh nylon pockets. It also features four small interior pockets, two medium interior compartments, one large interior compartment with two elastic loops, and two small exterior pockets. It measures 15.5" h x 13" w x 8" d and has a long, adjustable strap that can be worn across the body or over your shoulder.
Favorite details: I loved the four small interior pockets. They were perfect for holding little items, such as a pint of strawberries or a handful of peas. I imagine they will be perfect for summer-ripened tomatoes. I really liked the fact that this meant I didn't have to use a plastic bag to keep them contained and safe. I also liked the elastic loops, which was a surprise, because I didn't quite see their function until I bought a baguette and a leek and used the straps to keep them tucked into the corners. The side pockets were also handy to safely and conveniently stash my money.
Potential problems: I like the natural colored canvas but it will show the dirt rather quickly. Good thing it cleans up really well in the washing machine! Note: i did not toss it in the drier as I was being cautious, but just let it air dry.
Splurge-worthy? At $25, I don't think this tote is at all over-priced. You get an attractive, very well-thought-out product that has problem-solved many of the issues with other market totes.
Other uses? I think this would make an excellent picnic tote. The elastic straps will hold a bottle of wine or lemonade or a thermos, as well as the aforementioned baguette. And of course it would function very well as a grocery store bag, too.
Find It! Mercado Market Bag, $25.00 at Quirky
Related: Strong and Stylish: Why Baggu Bags are the Best Plastic Bag Alternitive
(Images: Dana Velden)
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.