Vendors Part 1 – Gonzalo: Veggies and Fruits At My Gate

Everyday at around noon Gonzalo (on the right in the photo below) and his brother Christian come by the house with their cart filled with great fresh produce.

IMG_2963These guys are great! Gonzalo has four boys with the last just starting preschool a few weeks ago. And mommy is Paola who is also as sweet a person as you will ever find. They tease me about broccoli which is my least favorite vegetable and bring me bunches of fresh acelga (chard) each week. When Joe and I were researching moving to Panama we looked at every picture we could find on the internet that showed the food items that were available.  See the pictures below for close up pictures of what Gonzalo sells.

IMG_2967His produce varies each day but most days you can find potatoes, red onions, scallions, cucumbers, beets, cabbage, mandarin oranges, juice oranges, pineapple, cantaloupe,  other melons in season, watermelon, tree tomato and naranjilla.

IMG_2966Some days he will have both the choclo and the yellow corn along with a green vegetable that they stuff with cheese and bake.

IMG_2965Fresh mora berries, green peas, peanut butter, sal piedra, crushed peanuts, tamarind, garlic, white onions, long beans and green beans. Tomatoes, green peppers and carrots are also available.

IMG_2964Today he had strawberries, fresh red beans, cilantro, cauliflower, broccoli and radishes.  I did see lettuce and white cabbage somewhere in the cart as well.

He also carries raisins, other fruits in season, grapefruit, apples, hot peppers, fresh peanuts, watermelon, yucca, the purple sweet potatoes they call camote, celery and bok choy called nabo here.  And if you do not see what you want, ask and he may even be able to get it for you in the next several days.

I depend upon Gonzalo for most of my fresh fruits and veggies.  His produce is fresh, reasonably priced and he always has a smile on his face.

One Vendor at the Mercado

Joe told me the pictures I took for my mercado story last week were a bit weak! He meant you really could not see the fruits or vegetables to get a good idea of what was for sale. When I went to my favorite young folks for my frutilla fix this morning I decided to take several more pictures.

Here’s an enlarged view of the prices in the previous photo.

These young folks are here every day of the week with fresh fruits and veggies. The young man speaks a few words of English and they are both very helpful.

Fruits, Fruits and more Fruits

We get most of our fruits and vegetables from the mercado. I do not like my tomatoes or avocados purchased from a cooler because the flavor and texture changes so buying at the mercado pretty much insures that these items are fresh off the farm and not refrigerated. While we were out looking for some home items we came across a man selling juice oranges, mandarin oranges and mangos several blocks past the mercado. It looked to me like he picks the fruit fresh from his own trees and drives to this spot each morning to sell what is seasonal.

This photo above shows just some of the fruits  I keep at hand. The bananas look a bit dark but they will be used to make Banana Bread and the avocado is not for guacamole although we do love it, I make a Bebidas (fruit smoothie) with them. I will give you the recipe below.

The juice oranges were 25 for $1, the mangoes were eight for $1 and the star fruit was free. Yes, seems that my friend Miguel needed some repairs done to his Lada and his mechanic has a star fruit tree that was overflowing with ripe fruit. He let us pick what we wanted. Bananas are .05 cents each or some days 4 for .25 cents depending on the size and the avocado’s run  3 for a $1 most places unless they are really big and then it can be 3 large for $2.  There is a man who sells naranjilla juice a 10 oz cup for .25 cents and another sells tiny hard-boiled quail eggs 5 for .50 cents they are one of Joe’s favorite snacks when he shops with me. He always finds a reason to wander to the front of the mercado for these tiny eggs.

Avocado Fruit Smoothie or Aguacate Bebida

  • 1 Large Ripe ready to eat Avocado
  • 8 oz. water
  • 8 oz. semidescremada milk or 2%
  • 6-8 ice cubes (use less water and more ice cubes if you want it thicker)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Peel and remove the pit of the avocado and put in blender with all other ingredients. Pulse until the ice is broken up and blend for one minute. It will be the consistency of a milk shake. Enjoy!  If you really want to have a treat add a handful of Mora (blackberries) and blend – I normally blend the Mora separately and strain as I do not like the seeds in my drink, then I put the thick juice in an ice-cube tray and freeze. I would add one or two cubes to my avocado bebita for that special flavor.  Makes 4 servings

Out of this world, you will never want any other fruit smoothie once you taste avocado….