Me gustan mucho los mercados! I like markets a lot!
I like them especially when we can buy local products and amazing fruits and vegetables which we love and use a lot. It is not always that we can find farmers markets or ones that have a lot of organic products, but here in the market in Tijuana we can at least buy vegetables and fruits which are from Mexico so they don’t need to travel overseas thousands of miles.
I should admit that when we are based in Lithuania we really don’t go to the market, just to the shops where we can find products that are not growing in the baltic climate, especially in winter time if we need fresh groceries. But it is because we try to use as many veggies and fruits from the garden as possible. Last year while we were living in Portugal it was great to go to the market, but still many products that we liked the look of were actually not from local lands.
Now we are living in a tropical country and all of the products we like the most are local! For example avocados, sweet potatoes, bananas, limes, coriander, papayas, mango and so many others. Of course we could easily buy all of them in the shops as well, but going to the market is always an adventure and has many benefits.
I am not sure we could fully avoid big shopping malls and supermarkets, although we are pretty close to it. At the market here we can buy a lot more than just fruit and veg, there are a wide variety of grains and seeds like couscous, quinoa, chia, different flours, soy pieces, many kinds of oats, and also some strange blue powder that we still need to find out the use of. There are nuts, tea, freshly ground coffee, dairy and non-dairy milk products as well. Sweets and candies of every kind are all around as well as big colourful pinjatas. If you get hungry shopping you can relax and have a snack at some little restaurants, maybe grab a cup of fresh fruits or drink coconut water straight from the coconut!
This are a couple of reasons that we like to go to the market here in Tijuana:
- Buying groceries at the market is more personal. You create relationships with the sellers, they treat you nicely and even advise you if you making a wrong choice.
- I can practice my Spanish. You need to communicate a lot more than in a supermarket, so I get the chance to talk more.
- There is a bigger choice of products, if I don’t like tomatoes at one stall then I can go to another one. There are a also a wider variety of exciting vegetables and especially fruits.
- Most of the goods are fresh and from Mexico.
- You can buy vegetables that are not so pretty and perfect for a lower price, instead of supermarkets throwing them away and increasing food waste.
- Buying at the market makes it much easier to avoid plastic packaging.
- Visiting the market just makes me happier and gives us a chance to get closer to the local culture.
- We walk on foot, instead of driving to some big store out of town, so our transport is has zero CO2 emissions.
The first time we did bigger shopping I was a little bit shocked because everything, even without us noticing, was packed into plastic bags at the checkout. They do the same at the supermarkets too. It was definitely a lesson for us, and the next time together with the goods I handed over our reusable shopping bags and all the time ask for no plastic bags. It worked out perfectly.
We like the fact that we can pick as many items we want because it is not pre-packed. We are doing very well and we don’t have until now any food waste at home!
Probably it hasn’t yet happened that we crossed the market and I bought nothing. I might see a fruit we had never tasted before, some local sweets like caramelized figs, maybe a little fresh cheese. But at least once a week we do bigger shopping so we can avoid going each day.
Now after a couple of weeks we already have our favorite spots to buy avocados, veggies and fruits. Every time we go we pick up at least one thing we never tasted before or something we really like, but didn’t buy so often in Europe. So don’t be surprised when we will share our opinions about some weirdo fruits and our interpretations of Mexican cuisine with the products from the market. 🙂