Grocery shopping in Joco, Part 1

Alll us really cool oldsters know that you can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant.  But since we don’t have Alice in Joco, we generally have to get our things at various locations.  In my pueblo of Jocotepec, we currently have three types of places to shop for groceries: the Mercado … marketplace; BodegaAuerra , an offshoot of Wal*Mart Mexico; and any of the many, many local tiendas or abarottes and carnicerias … mom and pop type stores.  Personally, I shop in all three, and I think a lot of people here do.  I don’t have much empirical evidence, but I DO see the same folks going in and out of all of them. 

In this edition of the blog, I’ll give you a little idea about what the mercado is like. 

The mercado offers a mix of fresh vegetables and fruits and meats, as well as canned goods and staples.  It differs from a supermarket in the sense that individual vendors offer up different goods.  Above is a photo of one of the fruit and vegetable stands.  Most things in the mercado are VERY fresh.  If you’re there early in the morning, and even throughout the day, you’ll see pickup trucks unloading comestibles ranging from apples to zucchini. 

Most of the stalls have some fabulous looking vegetables.  The kind that NOB … north of the border … you’d only find in an expensive farmer’s market.  I mean, look at these offerings.  How good is this???

Other vendors in the mercado sell cleaning supplies.  Personally, I’ve decided that this year I will try to get my cleaning supplies refilled here in Joco instead of buying plastic bottle after plastic bottle.  It’s not a resolution so much as a way of supporting my local entrepeneurs and not having to pay for the pretty packaging.  More about that later.  But if you DO need paper and cleaning supplies, the mercado has got them:

Or big packets of cereal:

There are also stands that sell fresh beef and/or pork, carted in on the backs of working stiffs and then cleaned and/or processed by the vendors.  And don’t forget the poultry! 


 and all of the things that are, as my lawyer friends put it, appurtenant thereto:

And, yes, kids, those are chicken feet for sale.  And, no, kids, I don’t buy them.  But I have friends who do.  While I expect that Mexicans use them for “people food” … i.e. great soups and/or sabor … flavoring … to lots of dishes, my gringo friends use them for making dog treats.

Even by local standards, Joco’s mercado is not large.  But neither was Alice’s Restaurant.  And, yet, at both, we can pretty much get everything we want.


About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs....almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US -- and lived in lots of them -- i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default.
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9 Responses to Grocery shopping in Joco, Part 1

  1. Wyotoad (Larry Orr) says:

    …everything except Alice.

    I have had chicken feet (and duck feet) cooked by a Chinese friend. Once you get past the yuck factor, they were quite good. Sort of like chicken wings which no one voluntarily ate back when I was younger, but are now served everywhere. Chicken feet look a lot better than pigs feet which I remember my father scarfing down when I was a kid. You see them pickled in jars in some grocery stores. Someday I’ll buy one and see what the attraction was.


    • JAJ says:

      Sappo, pickled pigs feet are great. Hopkins, that looks like a great place to shop. Beats the hell outa Wal-Mart. How does the price of fruits and veggies and meats there compare to El Norte?

      • Barbara says:

        good question, joe j., and one people always ask. i can tell you that most all vegetables and fruits which are grown in this area are a lot cheaper than NOB and available all or most of the year. with meat, it depends. i’ll tell you what….for one of my blog postings, i will do a list of prices of some things. if you’re interested in anything specific, let me know. remember that things here are sold in kilos instead of pounds, so the prices will be for 2.2 pounds. i’ll do the peso/US dollar conversions, but you’ll have to do the kilos to pounds conversions!

  2. Craig says:

    Some NOB cats don’t enthusiastically adapt.

    • Barbara says:

      that Rocky! he’s so picky!!! i guess i oughta buy one chicken foot for luquita and see what she does with it.

  3. Gigi says:

    All that yummy food and so beautiful, too! And cheap! I have to be careful not to buy more than I can carry!

    • Barbara says:

      yeah, it’s hard to stop once you get started; eh? gigi had to carry her purchases for a mile or two. i only have to carry mine a few blocks and it STILL gets heavy!!

  4. Leslie Limon says:

    I still remember the first time my suegra made us chicken soup. I couldn’t believe that she added a couple of chicken feet. And even more shocking to me was that she gave one to my 1 year old son, who absolutely loved it!

    • Barbara says:

      oh, leslie, you know kids! the only thing they really WANT to eat is what you don’t want them to! and it almost never harms them, oddly enough. i remember my son scooping up a plastic cup of muddy water at a mardi gras parade and drinking some of it before i could get it away from him. seemed to work as some kind of lifetime antibiotic since he almost never got sick!!

      okay, great, now i have to go find a small child and try to feed him a chicken foot just to see him munch on it!!! my lord, woman, the things you put me through!!

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