A former high school classmate and cherished old friend when reconnecting with Roger through Facebook quoted the old saying: "When God closes a door, he opens a window." The years have seen a number of life changes for us that make that adage ring true. After being blessed with good fortune, a wonderful son and great experiences, we decided to look out that window and prepare for more of what this wonderful life has to offer. We hope through our blog to share our journey from this point forward with family, with friends and with many others. Hopefully we'll make some new friends along the way. We hope you find our tales of some interest, even amusement and perhaps an inspiration for you to treat each and every day as an opportunity and an adventure to share with those who are an important part of your life.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fresh fruit and produce from the Coopera!

Pepino Dulce is a slightly less than grapefruit sized beige fruit with purple stripes on it. It's in the cucumber family but has a pear like pulp in a large apple shape. It was one of four fresh fruits in my breakfast fruit salad this morning (apple, pepino dulce, papaya and oritos). Orito is one of the many types of banana found here in Ecuador (this country is the world's largest exporter of bananas). It is about half the size of the banana commonly found in the U.S.A. It has a thinner akin but a richer, denser and creamier tasting fruit inside.

All of the items in my morning fruit salad were purchased at the coopera, our favorite place to shop for fresh fruit and vegetables. There may be some savings and even more variety found at the nearby Feria Libre, (Cuenca's largest mercado, but you often have to buy in larger bulk quantities. That isn't as easy for a two person household to consume especially when we typically eat out often. The almost as affordable coopera is a farmer's coop founded in nearby San Joaquin and all its offerings are otganically grown. The prices are extremely reasonble and will be even more so when we get our membership discount.

Here's a breakdown of our most recent shopping trip at the coopera:

2 large limes .13
1 pepino dulce .62
3 lg boneless, skinless chicken breasts 3.73
1 doz oritos .22
2 large avocadoes .77
1 head iceburg lettuce .46
3 large carrots .27
4 small white potatoes .23
1 large ginger root .35
1 large cucumber .37
1 large red onion .19
3 large red apples 1.02
4 large red tomatoes .72
1 jar fresh organic clover honey 3.01
1 large Hawaiian papaya 1.04

Total: 13.13

Note that the most expensive produce items (the Mac apples and the papaya) were imported. For those that are curious, the chicken breasts worked out to about $2.00 a pound.

Fresh fruit and veggies are a mainstay for us here in Ecuador and we love both the quality and the freshness we get shopping at the coopera. One of the first things we noticed when we were back in the states for a few months was a sharp drop in the quality and flavor of the fresh produce even when obtained it from what had been our favorite store for produce.

If you enjoy preparing your own meals, the opportunity to affordably enjoy the best in fresh produce will become one of your incentives for choosing Ecuador as a home. It has been for us and we look forward to many meals highlighting quality fruit and vegetables as we continue: "juntos en el camino de la vida".

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