I’m Home Today – Ventura, CA

I am so far behind, I think I am winning. My last post described our last leg on the Baja Bash. That time is now a faint memory. I’m not eager to do that voyage again though – it isn’t that faint.

Once we arrived in San Diego – the first week of June – instead of relaxing and just being glad to be back in the USA, we started going – for months – more on our outings in another blog.

And now? We are watching weather again. We plan to continue up the coast as soon as possible. San Francisco is our next destination. There is no window in sight – yet, but it shouldn’t be long before the summer weather pattern abates, and we will be voyaging again.

More about Mexico Living – Grocery Stores

I missed American grocery stores, while in Mexico. The Mexican stores improved significantly over the four years since our first trip in 2006. But it is hard to compete with an American grocery store. I think I went a little crazy – totally addicted to grocery shopping upon our return. I’ll take this and this and one of those…oh, what beautiful green onions. Oh. Sick, I know. We went to the grocery store every day for six days in a row while we were in San Diego.

Provisioning in Mexico

Groceries in Mexico have improved. In fact, there are a lot of food items with the same packaging as in the USA, but with Spanish language on the packaging. Cheerios, Raisin Bran, Doritos, and Cheetos – many food items have the same packaging and names.

One of the frustrating things for me was the inconsistency in food stock. One time I would find perfect green onions (for example). Ha! Now I know where to find good produce, and then never see it again at that store. I would find something I wanted, never to see it again in any store. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to why or how they chose their inventory. Of course, in situations like that you take what you can get and deal with it.  One definite improvement was mushrooms.  Four years ago I refused to buy them, as they were old, slimy – yuck.  That all changed some time in the last four years.

We discovered that the location of the grocery store drove the inventory. For instance, Soriana, CCC, and Mega were upscale full service stores found in most of the major cities. There is a beautiful Mega in Mazatlan.  They often have an American food section in their stores, where you can find American food items. I don’t think I saw anything I wanted – so whatever it was they stocked must have been requested items. Those items tended to be very expensive, too.  If the stores were located in areas where Gringos (American and Canadian) were likely to shop they carried a broader variety of food items. It wasn’t hard to find most every day items.

We went to a Soriana in Pitillal, across from Bruce’s doctor office. It was in an old and traditional part of Puerto Vallarta. The quality of vegetables, and the general inventory was nowhere near what we found in the same company store in downtown Puerto Vallarta. They definitely don’t stock specialty items where they aren’t requested or bought. The vegetables were limp, old, and not worth buying, though I watched shoppers select with no signs of disgust. The people of Mexico, at least in the areas we were, are becoming more affluent and sophisticated. They all will start to demand better quality and all the stores will continue to change for their customers.

There is now a Costco in Puerto Vallarta. Of course, it was the most consistent. They didn’t have the complete inventory a USA store has, but they had plenty. When we walked in, there was an instant sense of the familiar. We did a large portion of our shopping there. It was the only place we found real bagels. I can hear you all. Bagels? She wants bagels in Mexico? Well, yeah. They gave me happy breakfasts – what can I say.

Grocery shopping was a major event. We rode the bus into PV, but it was always a taxi ride home. We bought a lot of fresh veges – all of which had to be bathed in a solution to insure we didn’t get sick from unhealthy bugs living on the fruit and veges. The entire process from the bus ride, shopping, taxi back to the resort, getting the food back on the boat, and the food preparation took hours.

Microdyn Food Wash

Everything was soaked for 10 minutes. Some items were combined to lessen the time.

Avocados are a staple in Mexico. They are also much cheaper. I was shocked to see an avocado priced at almost $2.00 when we got back home. It’s a good thing we got our fill in Mexico.

It is the same for lemons and limes. Beautiful fruit – a staple – and cheaper in Mexico.

Everything got washed. Take your turn…

Eggs and Poultry

I loved how eggs were identified. Grandissimo! And, oh, there is nothing tastier than Mexican eggs and chicken. They have flavor. They taste like you might remember way back when. The eggs and the flesh of the meat have a distinct deep orange-ish pinkish tint. They say it is from Marigold flowers that are fed to the chickens.

Green Bags

Once all the fruits and veges are washed and dried they go in green bags. These bags extend the life of fruits and vegetables. Considering the cost, time, and effort it takes to get the food home, having it spoil before you can eat it is not an option. Note that there is a paper towel in the bag with the lemons. Condensation builds in the bag and the towel absorbs the moisture and slows down the ripening/spoiling process. Change the towels if there is a lot of moisture in the bag. Trust me your fruit will last much longer than traditional methods.

I always put bananas in a green bag. They keep for days longer. I purchased more-green- than-yellow bananas prior to voyaging, put them in a green bag, and stored them below in a dark, cool place. A week later they were just right for eating. That means we had nice, not over-ripe bananas on board for more than two weeks. Lemons, limes, avocados, green onions, cucumbers, radishes, and asparagus can last more than a couple weeks – by then they are gone and it is time to shop again. As for carrots, celery, and apples, I lose track of how long they have been on board. They last for weeks.

I never put melons, potatoes, or onions in bags – these were all washed, too. Berries can work well, especially if you keep them in the plastic containers they come in. It is a good thing to rotate your berries daily. Turn the container upside down, so that the weight of the berries is shifted. I find that the berries last longer this way.

Managing food onboard while voyaging or living in a foreign country is vital to the quality of life aboard. The effort to gather, clean, and prepare the food is compelling, but the expense and time involved are part of it, too.

So, back here in the USA, I still love going to the grocery store. It is hard for me to pass up any new store. Just think of all the exciting new items I might discover. The produce departments are beautiful in my eyes. I just can’t get enough.

That’s all for now – meanwhile I’m At home – in Ventura – headed to the store.

9 thoughts on “I’m Home Today – Ventura, CA

  1. When we got back home in February we immediately tried out the green bag you gave us and we LOVED it! We’ve since told all our friends about them and used them regularly! THANKS, Angie! Oh, and you can bet we’ll pick up some Microdyn when we’re back down there in November!

  2. Angie and Bruce

    Thanks for another great post. Always interesting reading.

    Just wondering if you will make it back up to Portland or if you will motor on by the Columbia river.

    Our exciting news is we finally got wifi at Hayden Bay and I an sending this off my laptop on the boat

    S/V Cinnamon

    • Thanks Dan! At this time the Columbia River is not on the agenda again, for another couple years. However, with us, you never know. Remember? We are retired and can change our mind on a three foot wave! Congrats on getting connected. 🙂

  3. I love your shopping notes and galley tips for cruising. It IS a very different approach, isn’t it — ignoring the delicious, just-ripe produce and going for the green! My blog notes are a month behind (wi-fi issues), but now that we’re back in town I’d really rather go shopping than update cruise notes.

  4. Hello Angie and Bruce,This is a very interesting story,our live is so much around food, that we don’t think how hard it is ,to get it and keep it when on a Voyage.
    we have been in Germany and Russia in August, still dreaming about that trip.Summer in BC is beautiful after a slow start. All is well on the Canadian side. Greetings Marianne and Hubert

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