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.