Naranjas | Mexico | Living in Mexico

Naranjas

Eastern Sierra Gorda farmers grow a lot of oranges. Whenever I get out of my car, the scent of orange blossoms almost overwhelms me. The air is clear and sweet—a good reason to live here.

Many growers operate in this valley; most are fairly small, supplying local outlets. Roadside fruit stands line Mex 85.

This guy runs a fairly sophisticated outfit, for the genre. He sells pottery, some kind of unidentified stuff put up by hand in bottles, and several kinds of citrus that have that "purchased-from-a-large-wholesaler" look—all unblemished and bagged. Probably grown in Florida. Sunkist maybe.

OR03

Here's a more modest retailer. His fruit is ungraded—direct from the grower. Could be he's the grower himself.

OR02

Of course, if you build a stand, you're almost obligated to operate it all year. I mean, you got to keep all that capital working. That's not for everybody. Seasonal sellers let nature provide their storefronts.

OR05

"Over here, Eugenio. Just dump 'em under the tree. Bag up a few of the good ones for the gringos."

At the very bottom of the pecking order you got your street vendors.

OR01

This one appears to be selling windfalls—maybe a couple dozen of them. He's scrutinizing one closely. Is it good enough to sell? Maybe...

He has a sideline dealing in sugar cane. He gets one peso for a two-foot length. Sells 'em to school kids. Maybe his cousin is a dentist.

Looks like he has a dozen sugar canes. So today he's looking at grossing maybe three bucks tops. He probably could make more money begging, but he isn't old and wrinkled enough yet.

The really big producers, the ones that load up several 10-wheelers a day, sell their produce wholesale to processers.

OR07

Citrofrut, your local polluter, buys oranges for even less than the street vendor charges. Why they have to emit all that smoke (it's smoke, not steam) is beyond me. Maybe they burn the rinds. In Mexico, they still use incinerators, you know.

Watchiing Citrofrut saturate the air in Tazaquil with partial combusiton byproducts kind of took the charm out of the orange growing scene for me. So I moved on down the road to where the air smelled like orange blossoms again, where I found a very small vendor selling fruit from his single orange tree.

OR04

This operation is one cut above a lemonade stand. My kind of place. And his oranges are good, too—I bought a couple. Gotta vote with your custom if you want small businesses like this one to survive.
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