An amazing encounter with Raphael..Again, it’s the simple things…

Here is the produce we purchased from Raphael last evening. The total cost was US $12.50. I don’t know if this is a good price or not, but since we are grateful to be able to buy these, we are fine with the cost. There are three avocados behind the bag of strawberries and a giant zucchini to the right. We aren’t eating salads right now.

Last night, as we were preparing dinner of pork chops, rice, green beans, and cooked carrots for Tom and grilled fish (unknown type) and veggies for me, we heard Raphael’s honking horn. We couldn’t get outdoors quickly enough to find Raphael with a huge grin on his face while asking how we were in Spanish. We enthusiastically answered, “Bien. Como estas?”

Over the years of selling his fresh farm goods to the English-speaking locals in Mirador San Jose, he’s learned the English translation of all his fruits and vegetables, making selecting our preferences easy when we merely say the names of what we’d like to buy.

We don’t bother to ask prices for his bounties, nor do we attempt to explain why we aren’t interested in potatoes, beets, corn, and other starchy, sugary fruits and vegetables. When he suggests such items, we shake our heads, and he continues to let us know any new items he may have that he didn’t have last time. He comes by each Tuesday and Friday close to 5:00 pm.

I nearly jumped for joy when I spotted a container of blackberries and another with strawberries. With my way of eating, I can have berries in moderation, ½ cup per day. He let me choose those I wanted from the containers, as my mouth watered at the prospect of eating these fresh-from-farm berries.

The berries didn’t look as if they were washed. I’d picked fresh berries in the past and could tell. Since I will be eating them uncooked, we soaked and rinsed the two batches separately in bottled water, letting them sit for several hours. This morning, I put about a ½ cup of the blackberries in a bowl, which I promptly tasted. They were so tart, much to my delight, that I’d have to add a little of my sweetener to be able to eat them.

The fact they were tart indicated they weren’t genetically modified to be sweet, as are blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries in the US and other countries, to appeal to consumers who prefer fruits to be sweet. It was only when I was a kid, back in the 50s, that berries were so tart that my mother placed a bowl of sugar next to them, to which we added several teaspoons to the berries. Then, they tasted good.

Now, in the US and many other countries, when you buy berries, sugar is unnecessary when they are already so sweet they are hard to stop eating. Before I adopted a low-carb way of eating in 2011, I could easily and mindlessly eat a bowl of berries without any added sweetener, munching on them as if they were salty nuts, which also are hard to stop eating.

This morning, I had my usual bowl of two eggs cooked in a bowl with ½ avocado for breakfast. But this time, I added a small bowl of fresh, sweetened blackberries on the side. What a treat it was! For me, it was comparable to having a fine dessert.

As shown in the photo above, Tom will enjoy another watermelon while I munch on the berries until Raphael returns and hopefully has more berries in his truck.

We’ll repeat last night’s dinner tonight with pork chops (for Tom) and fish (for me), both of which are marinating in the refrigerator. But this time, we’ll add steamed buttered broccoli as our vegetable instead of green beans and carrots. Buying the pork chops and fish at the little nearby market in this gated community and buying fresh vegetables from Raphael makes shopping for food much more accessible than we initially anticipated.

When we return to Manta on November 22 to return the car and visit the cardiologist, we will shop at MegaMaxi, the huge Walmart-like store in the shopping center, recommended by the locals at Kokomo’s last Wednesday night.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 11, 2013:

On our first cruise and venture outside the US on January 3, 2013, on the Celebrity Century, an “Old Hollywood” style ship, sailing through the breathtaking Panama Canal. This cruise line and particular ship may remain our favorite, even after many additional cruises. Our all-time favorite bartender is shown on the far right, Juan. What a guy! For more photos, please click here.

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