Fridays we listen for the honking to inform us that the vendor with the big truck has arrived. We gather in the arroyo, wait in line for our turn and meet the neighbours……. June has taught the children (& given Everette and I refreshers on) Cat’s Cradle; we’ve had invites from Janie to borrow DVD’s; met people from the sailboats anchored in the bay; arranged fishing trips, etc. This older fellow is fit, hefting sacks of oranges, avocados, potatoes, etc around his 10-tonne truck filling orders one by one. He has great produce but is known for his peanuts (in the shell) and bird seed and frozen meats.
Sundays its similar, but a younger couple arrives with their pick-up pulling a trailer with coolers and crates and pulls in under a big tree set up with tables in what is called “The Trees” where many of us are camped. We all dive in when the “Go For It” signal has been given. You pick your priorities, because once its gone, you have another week to wait. They have chicken eggs, some dairy, white buns and sometimes tamales, along with the regular produce of cucs, tomatoes, bananas, onions, etc.
I kept track of our family expenses for a few years in Canada, and even broke down our groceries into sub-categories such as dairy & eggs, meats, staples, super foods, produce, etc. I’ve give up on the subcategories since with vendors & markets we don’t even necessarily get receipts let alone identifying markers. I just put it all under ‘Groceries” now. And I’m pleased to say that we are spending only 1/3 to 1/2 what we spent for groceries in Canada.
Here’s what we just bought from the Friday vendor: $41.11 (518 pesos)
1 1/2 dozen chicken eggs
5 dozen wheat tortillas
2 stacks corn tortillas (about 30 per stack); fresh and still warm
1 head romaine
1 kg peanuts in shells
4 kg russet potatoes
10 kg Navel oranges
5 big chicken legs (maybe 3 kg)
1 box coconut cookies
Sunday vendor: $45.70 (576 pesos)
1 1/2 dozen chicken eggs
18 tamales, hot
1lb bacon, frozen
5 chicken legs, frozen
1 bunch green onions
1 head cauliflower
1 L whole milk
(These purchases were over a week apart, just so you don’t think we are gorging!!! )
However, there are a few things that are different when it comes to our groceries. Probably a lot, actually, but I can’t think of them right now, or we haven’t had enough experience. So far, this is what we’ve discovered.
1) We aren’t buying much for foods marketed as Organic. Mostly because it isn’t readily available. Unless you grow it yourself, I don’t think one can be absolutely 100% sure that what you purchase as ‘organic’ in USA &/or Canada is truly organic. (GMO is another concern.)
2) Superfoods aren’t easily available, unless we mail-order them but I’m not confident in them making it to my doorstep 🙂
3) We occasionally subsidize with free fish. I wish it were more but we aren’t set up really for fishing so I’m thrilled with the amount we’ve been able to consume.
4) Produce seems fresher down here, especially via the vendors. I hear that they pick it up directly from farms before bringing it to us the same day. I’ve just heard that there is a vendor who delivers to a nearby village on Tuesdays and its all coming directly from his own gardens. We might just be checking him out! but then we’ll be consuming fuel to get there. Having them come to us is really great.
5) There are a few items that we haven’t been able to find satisfactory counterparts for. I personally don’t like Mexican butter, and finding heavy cream for when I want a coffee is near impossible. Everette doesn’t like much of the coffee here. And all the peanut butter has added sugar.
6) A few items we like way better here. Like the chicken. Talk about flavourful and juicy. And the carcass makes the most wonderful soup broth. Its become a weekend treat…..Chicken legs on Saturday, chicken soup on Sunday.
VIEW FROM OUR KITCHEN: