As we’ve remarked before in these pages, one of the attractions of living in Mexico is the enormous variety of fresh local foods which are readily available to buy.
In addition to its traditional local food markets (which are plentiful and commonplace) some Mexican towns and cities also have artisan food markets, sometimes referred to as ‘farmers markets’ or ‘organic markets’, some of which also feature locally-produced art and clothing in addition to food and beverages.
The open-air farmers markets that have sprung-up across the country in recent times are run enthusiastically by people who are satisfying a healthy demand for locally-sourced food and products that have a known provenance.
These localized produce markets typically set-up at outdoor venues each week. In places where the local climate is temperate they are usually open year-round, whereas those situated in hotter climate zones tend to run between November and April when the weather is cooler, and part-time ‘snowbird residents’ —an important source of customers— are in town.
It’s fair to say that these outlets cater for customers seeking the more expensive organic and gourmet products, although the sellers are invariably local people who specialize in purveying produce that places importance on quality over quantity.
These local markets are the places to go to find things like eggs from local hens kept in small family-run coops, freshly baked bread, sweet rolls and specialty pies, special cheeses, organically-grown fruits and vegetables, home-made chutneys and preserves, as well as fresh and cured meats sourced from known herds that are not industrially-farmed. You can often find quality and flavor at these markets that you won’t find even at the most expensive supermarkets, but you’ll need to arrive early in the day if you want the best picks: traders offering top quality produce get known, carry limited stocks, and they sell-out quickly.
Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular areas foreign residents choose as a place to live in Mexico, some of whom arrive to live part-time during the cooler months between November and April, and others who make Vallarta their full-time home.
Vallarta is very well served by several local ‘farmers markets’ —conveniently situated across several areas of the bay— and one of the longest-running is the Forever Spring farmers market that is managed by Alison Normanton, a full-time foreign resident of the area. The Forever Spring market sets-up in Bucerias, a charming town that is growing quickly as it becomes increasingly popular with foreign residents. Forever Spring is one of the smaller local markets in the bay that offers a sociable and informal atmosphere in which to browse and buy. The market is busy, but not crowded, and features a wide array of foods, beverages, and other locally-produced goods, with no duplication and no imports. Some of the stalls are managed by local foreign residents who are purveying products they specialize in, although most of the vendors are local Mexican traders and if you don’t speak Spanish there’s someone nearby who’ll happily translate.
In our essential skills for expat series, we highlight the importance of finding and contributing to local networks to help you settle and become an active part of the community you choose to live in. These local artisanal food markets (referred to interchangeably as ‘farmers markets’ or ‘organic markets’) are an ideal venue to meet new people, make new acquaintances, and catch-up with existing friends.
If you know of a local market in your locale that you’d like to share with readers, use the comments section below.
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