Saturday, August 09, 2008

who will buy?

Mexico Cooks has written two posts about fresh summer vegetables purchased at Mexican street markets. Her photographs are always as good as her recipes. These are no exception.

But what struck me most is that she has included prices. And I am glad she has. I was beginning to worry that the food budget I had put together for my Mexico adventure was far too low. If I stick with fresh vegetables and fruits, I should be fine.

Her prices also reminded me how expensive our local farmers' markets are. I will start with the proposition that the fruits and vegetables I buy from our street markets have far more flavor and nutrition than most of the items I find at my local Safeway.

Years ago I stopped buying nectarines (one of my favorite fruits) at any chain grocery store. They were inevitably as hard as baseballs.
When I found some softer ones this week at Safeway, I bought them -- only to have my hopes dashed. They were soft because all of them were rotten. Lesson to remember: no more fruit from Safeway.

So off to the Saturday Market I went today. Black cherries. Yellow cherries. Golden nectarines. And in their prime. I bought five nectarines and less than a half kilo of cherries. You can see my haul at the top of this post.

Fruit, like freedom, isn't free. Nor is it inexpensive. Ten dollars! American! Admittedly, the dollar will not buy much overseas. But I really expect to get more for my money than a handful of pit fruits.

Rant done. The cherries were delicious, and the nectarines willingly gave up their -- well, nectar, I guess -- on a pristine bed of Häagen-Dazs vanilla. Hmm. I wish I had bought those fresh raspberries now.


Babs said...

Beautiful photo - as long as you buy "local" like fruits, veggies, fish and chicken, your food budget will be minimal. It's when you want those imported things like canned veggies, or GOOD beef that you pay more. But, you'll probably find yourself going to Manzanillo once in a while to Costco or Soriana or whatever is there to stock up on those things you miss .......I don't even spend $100 US a month on groceries...

Steve Cotton said...

One of the problems of buying food as a tourist is not knowing where to shop. I suspect the same thing happens in the States if tourists end up in 7-11s. And, of course, we all end up buying different things. My grocery bill in the States runs about $300 a month. I have friends who spend half that amount for one person.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Nectarines,cherries oh....I have forgotten what they taste like. Generally if you are cooking from scratch and I look at that as being entertainment not a chore,it's much cheaper. But if you don't like to cook then there are other ways to save money. Here you can buy a whole roasted chicken with tortillas,some cabbage salad and black bean soup for $45.00 mxp. That's your main meal for the first day, the next day you make chilequiles and top with some of the chicken, or make a salad and add the chicken. The third day you make some chicken enchiladas. Of course, you can opt to freeze the chicken so you aren't eating the chicken every day.
Even if you ate at a cocina economica (for $35mxp) every day, then had oatmeal for breakfast and fruit for cena you could spend less than $5 usd a day for food which is still only $155 usd a day! Then you would spend less money on propane since you aren't cooking. I think if you are careful and eat in season,use meat sparingly you can eat for half of what you are now spending and eat well.

1st Mate said...

Steve - when I buy produce at the tianguis almost everything is ten pesos (about a dollar) a bag here in Guaymas. Cherries, strawberries and such would be a little more, but nothing like what you paid. Yummy picture, made me hungry.

Steve Cotton said...

Theresa -- Going without cherries and nectarines will be difficult, but there will be new fruits to experience -- as you have so aptly shown. I have budgeted $240 a month for groceries. I like to cook, and I like experimenting with foods. I should be fine with my budget.

Steve Cotton said...

Bliss -- I can see the trend here. I will add a new adventure to my life by adding in the street markets. I am amazed at how expensive our farmer market prices are. But costs are much higher, as well.

glorv1 said...

Steve, the cost of fruit can be high, which is the reason we grown our own. Do you know that we have peaches, nectarines, tangerines, apples, grapefruits, oranges, lemons, limes, newly planted cherry trees, grapes, olive trees that bear but I don't know how to cure, avacado trees that will in a few years give fruit. Man, we are set for life. Pretty good, huh. Say hi to Jiggs.

Steve Cotton said...

Gloria (or should I say Eve) -- I can understand why you want to stay right there in your Garden of Eden in Stockton. I was stationed at Castle Air Force Base for a year and came to really appreciate the area -- especially Yosemite. The other day I thought about the watermelon strike of 1973 when you could get a full melon for a song.