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This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.About River Ranch F...
Kjersten Van Horn of River Ranch Farms Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
 
I am a food lover and love to cook. How I have learned shop where I live in Chiriquí, Panama
 
I have lived in the Boquete area of Panama for 13 years now so have learned how to shop for my food.
 
There are basically two kinds of markets here in Panama.  The first are supermarkets which are just like those in the USA; large, modern and clean, with many imported foods as well as local products, fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and seafood.
 
The other markets are “mercados publicos” (public markets) which are sometimes open air (with roof) or enclosed.  The mercados typically sell local fruits and vegetables at much lower prices than the supermarkets. There are large and small mercados; the larger ones will also have seafood and meats as well as the local fruits and vegetables. Typically the mercados are small stands. In fact, you see the mercados throughout Central and South America as well as Mexico.
 
In Boquete we have a brand new Mercado Publico which has it all; fruits, vegetables, seafood and meats. There are many small stands offering their products.
 
In the city of David, about half an hour from Boquete, we have several large supermarkets as well as Price Smart which is owned by Costco and the same as Costco in the USA. I go to different supermarkets for different products and you will learn what supermarket carries which products you like to consume.
 
For example, I buy all my chicken at Price Smart because it is less expensive (larger packages) and it is the Toledano Brand which is a large chicken grower that does not feed their chickens with hormones and antibiotics, and it tastes yummy. I take the larger packages and freeze them in smaller packages. I do this also for my ground meat and pork products. Most products are much less expensive at Price Smart and good quality.
 
I go to Super Baru (also in David) for imported products especially from the Middle East.  Because the owners are of Greek heritage they carry products such as pita bread, hummus makings, pepperoncini peppers, pastas imported from Italy, etc. Super Baru has a good butcher counter of fresh meats as well as a large deli counter and fresh seafood.
 
In Boquete and Cerra Punta now there are many growers growing hydroponic lettuces and tomatoes that contain no pesticides that are being offered in many of the supermarkets all over the country and increasingly we are finding more options of organic produce in some supermarkets.
 
Also in Boquete we have what we call the Tuesday Market, which is like a Farmers Market where you can find organic fruits and vegetables (higher prices) as well as all kinds of products such as homemade sausages, cheeses, prepared meals as well as handicrafts. This market is kind of a social gathering and caters mostly to the expats, although many local Panamanians attend and shop here as well.
 
I go to Felipe Moto to stock up on my wines. They are a wine and liquor specialty store and also have a very nice selection of deli products as well as specialty imported products, i.e., crackers, chips, cookies, nuts, etc.
 
If you are tourist in Panama and spend some time in the city don’t miss going to the fish market on the edge of Casco Viejo (the old city, in PanamaCity). It has several stands where you can eat fresh fish and seafood dishes. It’s a great typical experience.
 
(Photo is of the new Mercado Publico in Boquete)
Giselle Leignadier of Hacienda Los Molinos – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Hacienda Los Molinos restaurant – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingYou can get the freshest vegetables in the world in Boquete. You can get fresh tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, broccoli, etc., in Boquete because all of these are grown here. Boquete is like the supermarket of Panama and the best part is that the vegetables here are very cheap. You can get a 5 pounds of tomatoes for US $1. A head of lettuce is 50 cents. Three bananas is 25 cents. We also have lots of fruits here like pineapple, watermelon, oranges, and strawberries. Strawberries are a little more expensive compared to other fruits. A pound of strawberries would be around $2.50. You can buy three pineapples for $1. 
 
A dozen eggs cost $1.44, or 12 cents per egg. Meat is $6 per pound. Pork is $2.50 per pound. Chicken is $1.50 per pound. All these are good quality.
 
There is a small supermarket in Boquete Town. If you want to shop in quantity, there are big supermarkets in David, which is only 30 minutes from Boquete by car. There is also a PriceMart in David. In the local markets in Boquete, the local producers and farmers bring their products to sell.
 
(Impressive meal at the restaurant at Hacienda Los Molinos, Boquete, Panama, pictured.)
Linda Jensen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Behind this fence, the new farmers' market is nearing completion. It will be a big success and draw from cities and towns all over.
 
If you walk around downtown Boquete,  every block or two has one or more fresh produce vendors. You find them tucked in small spaces around other businesses, near grocery stores, pharmacies and bakeries, filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. For a few dollars, you can have days of fresh vegetables or fruit. If you are like me you freeze some for later use. Small pickups come and sell their corn, avocados, coconuts, bananas, and cabbages too. They park near the central market and grocery stores for the most exposure and shuck corn or package green beans into bags..
 
Commonly found are potatoes, carrots, lettuce, spinach, onions, broccoli, eggplant, zucchini and other squashes, yucca, and other local favorites, bananas, corn, melons, strawberries, and seasonal sweet potatoes. Papaya, pineapple, passion fruit, and oranges are sweet and delicious. Coconuts are very healthy, too. From common to exotic, it is always good to stop and look at the produce, ask questions and learn the words in Spanish. 
 
Everyone has a favorite vendor or favorite place to shop. The people are friendly, kind and patient with the gringos and expats. They help you choose the best based on today or tomorrow or the next day for the intended use.
 
Cerro Punta is just the other side of Vulcan Baru. The crops grow on steep hillsides and year round. This small agricultural area produces over 3% of all food grown in Panama. Vulcan Baru is worth the trip just to see the amazing fields and the cultivation of the steep slopes of the mountains.
 
I would say ten dollars will give a couple enough produce for healthy meals for a week. Having access to so much for so little, it is wise to buy only what you need and can store safely.
 
Boquete, Panama on the left and outside of Cerro Punta on the right.
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Georgina Chanapi  of Lucero Homes Golf & Country Club – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Romero  Boquete, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingA new fruit and vegetable market is about to open here in Boquete in January 2016. The construction started last year and it’s finished now. I think they are just waiting for its inauguration.
 
Right now, there is a place near the central park in Boquete where you can find people selling fresh fruits and vegetables. If you want organic vegetables, then you may go to the supermarket. Vegetables and fruits are so much better here in Boquete because they are grown here so they are freshly picked. As an example, carrots are freshly picked by farmers and in just 30 minutes they are brought to the market to be sold. You can even ask the farmers for the specific quantity of vegetables that you need.  For example, if you need a sack of carrots or tomatoes, you can just tell the vendors what you need and they will have them for you the next day. 
 
We also have a supermarket in Boquete. Romero’s and Deli Baru are supermarkets here in Boquete that are much like the ones that you will see in the US. You can find most things that you find in a North American supermarket in Romero’s. They also have Nutella, which I love!
 
Ironically, the selection of many products that are imported from the US or even Europe is better in Boquete than in Panama City. The reason is that there are so many expats in Boquete that the stores will carry these items here. I was even able to find products in Boquete from Switzerland!
 
(Romero supermarket in  Boquete, Panama, pictured.)
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Lissy Lezcano  of Lissy Lezcano Attorney & Mediator – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Boquete food truck with bananas – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingTo buy groceries for two people in Boquete would cost around US $150 to $200 twice a month, depending on your diet.  Recently, the government imposed price regulations on certain food items such as eggs. The standard price for a dozen eggs is $1.87. Rice, chicken, and meat have a regular price controlled by the government but the price increases if you are looking for something more exotic. Rice could cost 60 cents per pound. The regulation is in place to make sure that everyone can afford the basic food items, but not all foods are covered by the regulations. The regulation is called Canasta Basica, which defines the prices of about thirty food items.  
 
There are about three supermarkets in Boquete. You can also go to the market to buy vegetables and fruits. Every Tuesday, foreigners have what is called “Tuesday Morning Meetings” where vendors come to an open area and you can find bread, vegetables, fruits and cooked food. You will find everything that you are looking for in the Tuesday Morning Meetings but they have a different price than other places. It might be a little expensive for locals because of our relatively lower salaries but the price is okay for expats.  Anybody can go to the Tuesday Morning Meetings and sell. For example, I can go there and sell my bread and other people can go and sell vegetables or jewelry. 
 
If you compare the prices at the Tuesday Morning Meetings with the prices at the supermarkets, you will find that it’s more expensive at the Tuesday Morning Meetings because the items sold there are home made or made on smaller farms. They cook the bread in their own houses and take it to the market to sell. That is why the prices are a little bit higher than in the supermarket. The same is true for vegetables and fruits since the vendors are selling organic vegetables and fruits.  
 
In the supermarket, a gallon of milk costs around $1.50. The cost of bread depends on what kind of bread you are looking for. A loaf of white bread could be around $2. 
 
(Pictured: Panama food truck.)
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Penny Barrett of Fundacion Bid 4 Bouquete – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

The grocery stores in Boquete have all the same stuff you expect to get in a store in the US. They have canned goods, some American brands, dairy products, and everything else that you would expect.

In addition to the grocery stores, we have the produce market. You can buy your produce in the grocery store but it is going to be more expensive than in the produce market. Most people go to the “mercados”, or the open air markets. They have individual vendors selling fruits and vegetables and sometimes even meat. It is usually more inexpensive if you go to the mercado. Everything in the mercado tends to be very fresh and cheaper than in the grocery store.

If you buy something imported, it is going to be more expensive than in the US. As an example, we do not grow apples here in Panama. You can buy imported Washington state apples in Boquete but they are going to be more expensive than what you pay in Washington state. However, everything that grows here (for example, avocados, pineapples, papayas, lemons, bananas, etc.) and pretty much all the vegetables are inexpensive.

Debbie Fishell of Expat Freedom – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Boquete local farmers' market – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI live about an hour and a half from Boquete, but I make the drive to the Tuesday Farmer's Market once or twice each month for the amazing produce and other goodies. One of my favorite vendors is Eric, aka 2 Guys and a Cooler, who prepares gourmet meals that are frozen and $6-8 for each serving for 2. Things like Chicken Cordon Bleu and various casseroles. I like to get a few for the nights I don't feel like cooking or I'm too busy. There are few restaurants in my little town of Puerto Armuelles, so these meals are a real treat!
 
You'll also find handicrafts (wooden crafts photo), meats, cheeses, herb plants, and even wine and cigars.Handmade wooden bowls at Boquete Farmer's Market, Chiriqui, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingAvacados & fruit for sale from back of a car, Boquete, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living The Tuesday Market is primarily expats. Down the street, on the other side of the bridge, is a local market (top photo). You may need a little Spanish to negotiate there, but the produce is fresh and cheap. There is also a smaller market in Volcan on Fridays' that is worth a visit if you're in the area.
 
I frequently buy fresh produce from the backs of cars or trucks also (bottom photo). They are everywhere in Panama and very inexpensive. A few days ago, I bought a large papaya for 35c. Yum!
Paul McBride – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The simplest way to sum up buying groceriesBoquete supermarket with tuna shown – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living in the local supermarkets in Boquete is this – buy fresh, locally produced food.  One of the best things about living in Boquete is the abundance of great locally produced fruits, vegetables, meat and seafood. 
 
Boquete is located in the province of Chiriqui, which is the major food producer for the entire country of Panama.  From vast rice fields and pineapple plantations to smaller farms growing all varieties of lettuce, bell peppers, squash, pumpkins, potatoes, onions, celery, tomatoes, egg plants, zucchini, you’ll find just about all the vegetables you want.  Tropical fruits reign supreme with pineapples, mangos, papayas, bananas, passion fruit, star fruit, lychees and a variety of other fruits that you may or may not have heard of available during season.  The best part of this is the price.  My wife and I buy around 2-weeks of fruits and vegetables (about 5 bags worth) for less than US $20.
 
Chicken is one of the staples in Panama and is very reasonably priced.  The pork is fantastic and the prices are much less than in the US, Canada or Europe.  Even beef, which is grass fed and extremely lean, is much less expensive than overseas.
 
There is also a growing number of farms offering organically grown produce at slightly higher prices.
 
Of course, no discussion about food would be complete without a mention of the seafood in Panama.  Some of the best fisheries in the world are located in the waters just off the coast from Boquete and we’re blessed with the finest fresh seafood found anywhere.  I have a local fish monger who calls me when the yellowfin tuna are in.  He offers high quality, sashimi grade tuna that was caught the day before.  Talk about fresh!  And the cost – just $4.50 a pound.  My wife and I were recently visiting Seattle and went to the famous Pikes Street market where a pound of previously frozen yellowfin tuna was on sale for $28.95.
 
The variety of seafood is staggering with fresh tuna, dorado (mahi-mahi), wahoo, grouper, snapper, and corvina usually available.  We also have great warm water lobsters as well as giant shrimp during the season.  All the seafood can be bought at about 1/3rd of the price you’re used to paying in North America.
 
You can also find most of the brand name products you’re used to seeing in the US and Canada at many of the local supermarkets.  However, the general rule of thumb is that anything in a box or a can is going to cost at least as much as you’d pay back home.
 
In Boquete you can maintain a healthy lifestyle by choosing from locally produced fruits, vegetables, seafood, meat and poultry at a fraction of the price you’d pay at home.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.About Real Estate C...
Alberto Socarraz of Real Estate Chiriqui – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
If you like fresh and organic foods, then you will love the markets in Boquete and throughout Chiriqui Province.  There is a wide range of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, seafood and meats that are available fresh daily in the markets.
 
Farming in Chiriqui, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe province of Chiriqui is "the bread basket of Panama," making it easy and inexpensive to enjoy some of the simple pleasures of life.
 
The picture to the right is of a farm in Chiriqui Province, Panama.
Linda Jensen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
We often stop in the market for fresh vegetables and fruits while we are in town. Boquete has a wonderful climate and like most of Panama, there are four growing seasons. There is year-round produce to choose from in the market and at the many small vendors that parkalong the streets or have a small space rented along the shopping areas downtown.  
A Boquete produce and mini market. – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe front of a market in Boquete Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
 
Many of the strange looking items have names I can't spell or pronounce; however they are supposed to bevery good antioxidants that help fight a number of diseases. I always enjoy trying new fruits or vegetables here. We have tried a local plant that the locals use instead of potatoes. It tastes a bit bland but used in soups and other dishes it does add a texture and flavor. It is green outside, whitish inside and looks nothing like a potato!
 
The markets we have visited have been clean and they do a decent job of displaying the most popular items right up front. Today we were there early and it was less crowded, so I tried to take some video to show off the market place.
 
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