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Jeff Stern, Ecuador, Produce

Produce from Ecuador

One thing I will always appreciate about Ecuador is the low cost of high quality fruits and vegetables, plus the fact that everything is local.

Nonetheless, in the five and half years we've lived here, the cost of living has risen substantially. Despite heavy press coverage about Ecuador as a cheap destination for living abroad, well, let's just say I have to pop that bubble. It's not that cheap and it's not always that safe.

One thing that does always get me is the lack of products. One week you'll find something on the shelf, the next week it will be gone. Sometimes it won't reappear for months, other times it won't ever reappear. So if you really want something and you see it, it behooves you to stock up.

I'm talking mostly about imported goods-things like Tahini, Heinz 57 Ketchup, certain spices. But sometimes fresh produce too-for years there were jalapeños on the produce shelves-then they were gone. The basic fresh fruits and vegetables and other staples like salt, oils, vinegars, they´re always around. Exotic ingredients come and go, and the imported ones especially have slowly been going extinct in the last few years.

Here's a few basic items and their cost at the local Supermaxi-Ecuador's only sort-of upscale supermarket. The tiems would be a little cheaper at Santa Maria, the more mass market super market, and even cheaper at one of the local open air markets, but not by a whole lot.

1 Dozen Extra Large Eggs-$2.15

Standard Can of Tuna-$1.22

Cherry Tomatos-$1.60

Hearts of Palm-$1.82

Kilo of Strawberries-$3.44

1 kilo Bananas-$0.95

Lentils 500g-$0.99

700g Limes-$1.38

  • Charlotte

    Jeff – Thanks for posting this. It confirms what I found while in Cuenca in November. That many things cost the same or slightly more than they would in some American supermarkets in the recent past. HOWEVER, sadly, here in Texas (especially in the so called “natural markets”) we seem to have broken the $3.99 and $4.99 pricing psychology barrier. SO may products are now $5.99, $6.99 and easily even more per package…even when there is only a few ounces of product inside. Things are getting more like UK and European prices for food goods…albeit I am generally referring to well made packaged goods. As you say the saving grace in Ecuador are the open markets for freshness, local-grown or made and overall value. Ta, ++cj

Welcome to Destination Ecuador!

Welcome to Destination Ecuador! My family and I have been living in Ecuador for the last four and a half years. We’ve dealt with the worst kinds of red-tape, searched out or ended up making hard-to-find ingredients ourselves, imported equipment for making chocolate confections, learned the import-export business...Continue >>


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