This morning we finally made it to the weekly Alajuela Farmer’s Market! It is on the other side of town, so it was quite a walk for us – but what a *nice* day!
The Feria (Farmer’s Market) is about a block-sized covered area just outside the center of town. It is open on Friday afternoons and evenings, and Saturdays until 2:30. Most people bring bags, totes, and those little carts with two wheels. We took our huge tote (it is the size of the maximum carry-on for an airplane) – I haven’t yet been able to fill it and still carry it… Anyway, there are stands where you can borrow a shopping cart (don’t know if you have to pay, but you can’t take it out), and other stands where you can buy bags. There is a parking lot, and a handy taxi stand too.
We were concentrating on buying produce, but there are also stands that sell eggs, fish, and meat. There are also places to buy shoes, hair ribbons, and other hard goods. There was at least one soda (a stand-and-eat restaurant). I swear, someone could make a *fortune* if they opened a soda with actual seats (or even simple crates!) – there was *no where* to just sit! Well, we did sit on a raised section of sidewalk near the parking lot – but it was right next to a gutter, and smelled something fierce (but it was in the shade).
Well, after taking a load off, we walked a few aisles and started buying. You need a lot of coins when you go to the Feria – almost everything is 200 colones. I made a list below of a lot of the items we saw. I remember looking all over the place for prices of food and other basics when we first considered moving here. If you’re in the same boat, well, now you have some info…
Since we were now loaded down with lots of fresh produce, we took a taxi back. There is a taxi stand right there – we were about to get in the taxi, when we saw Don Oscar a few cabs back – so we did a reverse cut :) and got into his taxi instead. Not exactly kosher, but no one seemed to mind. When we got to our apartment, we invited him in to see what we ended up with (Oscar is the taxi driver who helped me look for a place to live one afternoon. He is also one of the trusted “call him first” taxi drivers; very old school.)
ITEMS (cost in colones (current rate is approximately c500 = $1; weight is in kilograms):
Avocado – 1000 / bag of 8
Cilantro – 100 / bunch
Pineapple (medium) – 300 each (I got a large one yesterday at the supermarket for less, but on special)
Mango (small, ripe) – 300 each
Tomatoes – 250 / kilo
Onions (small!) – 400 / half kilo bag
Cucumbers – 150 / bag of 3
Carrots – 200 / kilo
Camote – 200 / bag
Chili (sweet red) – 250 / small bag
Flowers – bunches ranged from 800 to 1800; singles (don’t know the names) went for 100 each
Eggs – 1200 / kilo (white); 1300 / kilo (brown); 15 eggs is usually about a kilo
Celery – 500 / large bunch
Bananas – 400 / kilo
Green beans – 400 / kilo
Ayote (large squash used in soups) – 400 / quarter
Mora (blackberries) – 500 / big bag; 250 / small bag
“brain” fruit (don’t know the name, but we think the inside looks like a brain – tastes good) – 500 / bag of 11