Farmers Market | California | Living in Mexico

Farmers Market

I've already bitched here about the high price of groceries in Santa Barbara: Steaks for $20 per pound, coffee for $12.


Last week we bought fruit at Ralph's supermarket. Mostly because it's within walking distance.

We got two perfect-looking and huge Fuji apples that apparently had been held in nitrogen or carbon dioxide or whatever for at least a year, because they were brown and mushy inside. We bought two big mangos that never ripened. (As mexican residents, we know our mangos.) We got four tasteless pluots. Two mealy peaches. A package of baby lettuce that turned slimy after one day in the fridge. A plastic container of tired, fermenting blueberries.

We wound up throwing most of this stuff away, not having a compost pile to recycle it in.

So, we've learned a lesson: Don't buy veggies at Ralph's.

Fortunately, we have two farmers' markets within walking distance of our rented townhouse; on Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings. There's a lot of stands there that sell olive oil, honey, pistachios, frozen steaks and flowers.


I finally found some vendors that sold actual vegetables and fruit. I was pleased to see that much of it was locally grown on the Central Coast—Arroyo Grande and like that.


We bought a few things for dinner: bicolor corn, delicate lettuces, heirloom tomatoes and peaches. Man, were they good. Almost as good as Mexican produce. And certainly less contaminated by pesticides and E. coli.


But if we were expecting lower prices than Ralph's, well, forget it. What you see here cost $11. Still, it was cheaper than Ralph's, considering that all we got out of the stuff we bought there was a cantaloupe, a few lonely blueberries and a contribution for the landfill.