Confession: For our first two weeks in Chapala, most of our groceries came NOT—as you might expect—from an open-air market offering freshly picked, sun-kissed, soil-dusted produce, but from a darker entity on the opposite end of the satisfaction scale.
Don’t judge me. In most new countries, it takes me a couple weeks to get a handle on the local markets and feel comfortable plunging in. Mexico is no exception.
This is a perfect example. I knew Chapala had a farmer’s market, somewhere, but until yesterday I didn’t know where to find it. Turns out it’s tucked away in a Mexican (not expat) neighborhood behind the bullring, sort of across from Soriana, the big Mexican supermarket. (How could I have missed it?)
Fortunately, my friend, Susan, and her lovely kids offered to give Scout and me a market tour.
We parked in the Soriana lot, darted (well, with six kids in tow, sputtered) across the highway, and then turned up a dusty, cobblestone lane next to a cow pen. Several blocks ahead, vendor tents materialized.
As farmers markets go, this is a medium sized one featuring the usual suspects: Fruit and veggie stalls, a few fresh cheeses, clothing, shoes, kitchenware, household sundries, food vendors.
There were a few novelties as well. A guy selling sheets of pig fat. A bulk shampoo vendor, who ladled the (slightly disturbing) viscous, pastel-colored liquid from buckets into plastic bags to go. An old woman with baskets of lime green parakeets and cockatiels for sale.
No big purchases on day one. Just some produce to get a feel for the place and then a quick taco stop.
These pork tacos were great, and at only $30 pesos (2.30 USD) for four, pretty cheap, especially considering that Scout and I only ate one each.
So that was our introduction to the Monday market in Chapala. I’m still a little hesitant to photograph people in markets, but next time I’ll try to get shampoo guy and bird lady. Maybe even the slabs of pig fat.