Food and Drink, Markets and Trade

Local Trade is Brisk at Artisan Food Markets in Mexico

Fresh local produce

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 here.  In addition to its traditional local food markets which are plentiful and commonplace across Mexico, some towns and cities also have artisan food markets, some of which also feature locally-produced art and clothing in addition to the 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 artisanal produce markets typically set-up outdoors 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 operate in months when the weather is cooler. (With the added benefit that part-time ‘snowbird’ residents — an important source of customers — are also present.)

It’s fair to say that these outlets cater for the upper-end/gourmet food segment in Mexico, although the sellers are invariably local people who specialize in purveying produce that places importance on quality over quantity.  These 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 get there early if you want the best pick: traders offering top quality produce get known, 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 various areas of the bay – and one of the longest-running is the Forever Spring farmers market, started and managed by Alison Normanton—a long-term foreign resident of the town and someone who also helps other foreigners to relocate to this area which she loves and calls home.

The Forever Spring market sets-up in Bucerias – one of several ‘satellite’ locales which form part of the wide Puerto Vallarta catchment area – a charming town that is growing 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, yet 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.  The market also serves as a social venue, with live music and refreshment on offer to patrons each week.

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 artisan food markets (often referred to interchangeably as ‘farmers markets’ or ‘organic markets’) are the ideal venue to meet new people and catch-up with friends – Mexicans and foreign residents – catch-up with the latest ‘local news,’ discover events happening nearby, trade, and pass a very enjoyable morning or afternoon.

If you know of a local market in your locale that you’d like to share with readers, use the comment form below.

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3 Comments

  1. Sandy Richardson says

    Yes, the Wednesday market in Bucerias is nice. In addition, I would suggest that the market on Sunday next to the La Cruz marina is one of the very best. It has many vendors, great music and the wonderful ambience of the marina and fish market. If you are in the area on Sunday mornings (from the fall to the spring), I wouldn’t miss it. La Cruz is the next town just north of Bucerias.

  2. Chris Clark says

    We just moved to Ajijic & are thrilled to be situated near our local artisan/organic market. Local cheese, meats & vegetables abound. Get there early to partake of greens like kale & chard. They go fast! You’ll also find chocolate, coffee, kombucha & more while wandering amongst a friendly & enthusiastic crowd. Tuesdays only so far.

  3. kaleo says

    Yes, the market in Bucerias is truly lovely: live music, great fresh veggies and fruit, fresh and really exceptional Mexican food, Gringo food too, amazing organic coffee and brittle, plus healers and more. People are open and kind. I was there a couple weeks ago and can tell you great energy abounds here, leading to special connections at this charming market.

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