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Tara Crellin of Dlaaya – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Meal made  from local sources at Dlaaya, Las Lajas, Panama  – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe food that you can buy in the markets in El Valle de Anton is fantastic. You can go to the main market where there are a few vendors who sell fruits and vegetables. You can buy everything there that you could possibly need. Everything that they sell in the market is locally-grown and really great quality.
 
They sell hot sauces in the markets, and molasses that they make from the cane sugar. You can also buy beans that they dry. There are black beans, white beans, and lentils (which are great), and various herbs. You can also buy plants for your garden if you want to grow your own herbs or if you want to buy various flowers, orchids, and other plants. You can buy them all in that local market. 
 
In the areas around El Valle, there are several organic farms that I love to go to. One that I really love has arugula, various types of lettuce, Swiss chard, basil, and sometimes they have plantains and bananas. So there are quite a few options and the quality of produce that you are going to find is better than anywhere that you’ll ever shop in Canada. The pineapple here tastes like candy. The mangoes and papaya are great. We were just on a trip to Mexico, and the fruit over there didn’t even come close to the quality of fruit that you can find in Panama. All these fruits and vegetables are locally grown here. 
 
The prices in the markets are so affordable. For example, I’ll go to the organic farm and fill a large shopping bag with organic lettuce, arugula, carrots, etc., until it’s full, and pay only $5 to $8. The produce is all organic, green, and lovely. If I were to shop for the same produce and the same quantity in Canada, it would cost me around $40 to $50.
 
For things other than produce, you can go to a supermarket called El Rey, which has everything else that you would need such as chicken, meat, dairy, pasta, etc. It’s just like any normal grocery store in North America. If you are in El Valle, you can get everything that you need from the markets and the grocery store.
 
(Meal made  from local sources at Dlaaya, Las Lajas, near El Valle,  Panama, pictured.) 
Neil Stein of Panama Paraiso – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Open air market in El Valle Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere’s an open-air market in El Valle de Anton, so you can get fresh vegetables and fruit.  In general, it’s fresh and good.  I input a picture of it to the left so you can get an idea of what it's like.
 
The growers in the open-air market do not provide organically grown food, and people are getting more conscious of buying food that does not have pesticides.  If this is your concern, you have to seek out the organic growers, and there are a couple of them here in El Valle.  You have to go to their homes or farms, although they don’t really have farms as such.  They just have a little bit of acreage that they grow on.  You can find organically grown food in El Valle if you want it.
 
When I first moved to El Valle two and a half years ago, there were what were considered the “Chino Markets”, which are owned by the Chinese, who are really nice people.  The Chino Markets, however, are very limited, and there was one family that owned all five or six of them.  Last year, a Rey came in.  “Rey” or “El Rey” is one of the major chain supermarkets in Panama, and it opened in El Valle at Paseo El Valle center.  Rey is a very good market, so we have a lot more choice than we used to have.
 
There are only 3,500 people here in El Valle and there are five or six other markets, so the choices are somewhat limited.  However, we do have pretty good variety.  In the Rey, you can buy items other than you would find in the open-air markets, such as meat or fish.
 
The Rey we have in El Valle is smaller than the Rey’s they have elsewhere. Down in Coronado (which is less than a half an hour away by car), they have three big supermarkets, one of which is a Rey about twice the size of the one we have in El Valle.
Bill Brunner of abc realty panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
El Valle de Anton open air market – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn El Valle we have a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables at the produce stands in the open air market, which are open 7 days a week.  (The other, non-food items at the open-air market are available for sale only on Sunday.)  Friday is the day they get most of their produce from the farmers, so if you come on Friday, you’ll get very fresh produce.  If you come several days later, the produce has probably been there since the previous Friday.
 
Most of the produce sold at the open-air market comes from Chiriquí Province, which is the Panamanian province closest to the border with Costa Rica.  Chiriquí Province is sort of “the bread basket” for all of Panama.  Very little of the produce sold in the open-air market in El Valle comes from the local farmers any longer.  (In fact what the local farmers grow usually goes to the larger markets in Panama City.)
 
Vendor at open air market in El Valle de Anton – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn El Valle, in addition to the open air market, there are two other places to buy food: we have a supermarket which is part of a chain just like you would expect to see in the US with all the variety, but scaled down, and  then there are five Chinese general stores, which sell fresh fruits and vegetables.  In the open-air market you will find things there that you may not find in the supermarkets or in the Chinese stores.
 
The quality is probably best at the supermarket chains because they are a little bit pickier.  I find myself going to the supermarket more often because my list will include things that aren’t sold at Pineapples at open air market in El Valle de Anton, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Livingthe open air market or, if its later in the week, there aren’t fresh fruits available in the open-air market.
 
I’m told that the prices at the supermarket in El Valle are about the same as you would find at a supermarket in the US.  The meat’s cheaper in Panama than the US, but it’s tougher.  The chicken is probably about the same price.  The prices are a little bit better in the open-air market but if you need items like eggs, milk, bread, etc., you go either to the Chinese store or to the supermarket.    

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