In the Market

    Central de Abasto

    The beating heart of Mexico’s fresh food distribution network, Central de Abasto, is the world’s largest market and by all respects is a city within a city—except this city is truly all about food. Fresh produce, meat, seafood and spices arrive at Central from all over the world. Need a molcajete (a Mexican mortar and pestle made from volcanic stone)? A set of knives? You’ll have plenty of options. Central spans 327 hectares; the produce area alone includes 9,500 stands, and approximately 35% of all the food consumed in the country moves through this vast market. Its distribution network includes public neighborhood markets, street vendors, chain grocery stores and other commercial outlets throughout the country. Central provides the lifeblood of Mexico’s delicious cuisine—fresh, high quality ingredients—foods deeply valued by Mexican culture.
    Stepping foot into Central, the senses feast—and in some ways, it’s a step back in time. Vividly colored fresh fruit and vegetables are neatly merchandised for eye level appeal or stacked ceiling high. The air is filled with intoxicating aromas as you walk past displays of chiles, guava, garlic, oranges, limes, and mangos, while a musical soundtrack juxtaposes traditional Mexican tunes and 80’s American hits. Men, women, young, old, and in-between, workers, mothers, children and tourists crowd the stalls, shopping or waiting patiently for fresh tacos al pastor as vendors flip fresh corn tortillas on a griddle. Above the bustle float the voices of market vendors hollering and whistling to attract customer attention as well as a complex language of communicative whistles used by the 12,000 diableros (men heaving dollies piled high with produce) barreling through the aisles daily. 


    OPen Air Market

    Neatly tucked within a park in Colonia San Rafael an open-air neighborhood market provides easy access to the season’s offerings (and some clothing and trinkets, just in case).  Stalls brim with brightly colored produce, freshly squeezed fruit juices, edible insects, colorful salads, mixed nuts, dried fruits—a bountiful array of goodness. Shoppers stroll the aisles, looking, tasting, buying. Each vendor is canopied by a translucent red tent, casting a warm, pink-colored light across the market. 
    Need a mango expert? We’ve found one. Joel Hernandez’s father helped start his stand in the roaming market in 1970 when Joel was 11 years old. This kind-faced man with skin tanned from sunny market days has been selling mangos at his fruit stand for 44 years, yet his love for this fruit has not waned, “I eat them all the time…I begin every day with one.” He’s not just here to sell you mangos. He wants to tell you the story of mangos—the varieties available, where they come from, how they’re produced, how they’re eaten, and that for some reason, just having mangos around seems to lift the sales of all fruits. “The top selling fruit is mangos.” The classic way to eat a mango? Peeled and sliced with lime, salt, and a little bit of chile. 


    Get the full Share. Mango. Love. Mexico experience here.