Fruits and Vegetables of Belize

One of the hardest things for me to get used to when I moved to Belize was moving from Whole Foods Megastore (my idea of heaven) in Chelsea, Manhattan to the much more limited selection of produce we have down here.  Since Belize doesn’t import many fruits or vegetables (though once in a while you can find a bootlegged Sunkist lemon or Mexican avocado), the selection is pretty small.  And hard to get used to after years of trying to decide between 14 different types of apples or whether I should pay an extra 15 cents a pound for the organic kale rather than just the generic.

There are sacrifices for the fantastic weather!

Here is what you might see at your market or stand in Belize.

And here is a picture I took this summer at Chedraui Superstore in Chetumal, Mexico….maybe 30 miles from us?  Look at the SELECTION.  And CHEAP!   Jalapenos $1.25USD for a kilogram?  The peaches, the plums, the shallots and scallions, the cactus paddles and mushrooms, the rambutan!  I was swooning.

Here is the list (and I know I am forgetting some) of fruits that are always fresh and available everywhere at all times of the year in Belize:  Pineapple, Watermelon, Oranges (mostly green on the outside and riddled with pits.  Makes the best OJ I’ve ever had though), Grapefruit, Papaya, Limes, and Bananas & Plaintains.

Here are your veggie choices:  Tomato, Habanero Peppers, Green bell peppers, Cucumbers, Zucchini, Onions, Garlic, Potatoes (though we’ve been known to run out of these), Cabbage and Carrots.

We get different things when they are in season like delicious mangos, avocados and more exotic fruits like custard apple, mamey, Dragon Fruitcraboo and seagrapes.  Vegetables like cassava and little pumpkin/squashes.

Where to get them?

Everyone in San Pedro has their personal produce purveyor.  The shop or stand where you get your fruits and vegetables.  Here is my local place.  Directly across the street.  Her son is now running the joint since she is back in her home country of El Salvador having medical treatment.  Feel better soon and hurry back!

So…hit the local stands for the basics and try the Greenhouse when you are in town.  If there is a Whole Foods in Belize, Greenhouse is your spot.  Great selection.  I bought truffle oil there!  Greenhouse gives me my fix when I am craving fresh basil or Brussel Sprouts.

Though they don’t come cheap.  But it is probably worth paying extra to try a recipe that looks this good:  Braised Brussel Sprouts

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