Our local market serves a Latino clientele, along with your more "predictable" Marin shoppers. It is by no means an upscale market, but it does a darned good job in its produce department, especially given that it's located across the street from the Marin County Civic Center, home to a fantastic farmers' market twice a week.
I was totally surprised to find taro roots among the vegetables the other day, not having done my research. So I bought four of them, then Googled "taro latin," and learned that the taro root is a staple of South American and Puerto Rican diets. Apparently cultivation of taro, also known as yautia, cocoyam, dasheen or tannia (and I may be commingling varieties here ― I'm not a botanist, I just eat the stuff), is very old in the Americas, and possibly arose, maybe 10,000 years ago, in India. I read this on a site I stumbled across, Invista: "Since taro is a staple food, it is common for it to have hundreds of names. In 1999, the UN listed forty-four countries that grow taro, and the University of Hawaii listed eighty-five known cultivars."
See what you can find out? Thank goodness for the Internet. And high-speed.
And thank goodness for my digital camera, so I can show you this:
Bean Sprout looks about as perplexed as I am over what to do with a taro root (actually a corm).
What will I do with it? I do have a poi recipe. But no. I think I'll use one tonight, with some tofu and eggplant, in a little stir-fry. The other three might go nicely in a traditional Japanese meal along with some chicken... Or I could stew cubes of it in coconut milk, Thai style... Or simmer a pot of Puerto Rican root vegetable soup.. Or make fried chips. Or...