Daytripper: Cool Trips. Close by.

Daytripper is XelaWho’s regular monthly series on day trips within easy reach of Xela. This month’s article is called: A Fair Taste: Finding Fair Trade Food in Xela.

By Jenna Chapman of Quetzaltrekkers

We at Quetzaltrekkers are always looking for ways to live more sustainably. As part of this effort we organized our February benefit dinner around the idea of using local organic and fair-trade products. We called it “Meet the Farmer” and invited local producers to join us.

Once again we realized how many goods are available in Xela for the conscious consumer. Here are some excursions you can take to experience the joys we had at the benefit.

First, stop in at Al-Natur for homemade ice cream and irresistible tamalitos de Chipilin.

Next, don’t miss out on Doña Pancha’s family chocolate shop and its many specialties. If you get Doña Pancha talking, she’ll tell you about the chocolate-making process and the history of her store. She will also organize presentations about the history of the sacred Mayan beans.

One way to get the best and freshest local produce is to check out the many markets in and around Xela. Minerva and La Democracia the largest, where you can find just about anything that you’re looking for. Also recommended is a day trip to Almolonga’s market days, Wednesdays & Saturdays.

Another resource is Guatemaya, a local farmer cooperative that offers delectable, organic fruits and vegetables. They supplied the majority of the veggies for the main courses at our benefit. In addition to offering a weekly produce bag, Guatemaya makes the organic jam and tongue-burning habañero salsa sold in our ‘Life’s Not‘ Fair Trade Shop.

Up for a longer excursion? Then check out the cooperative Nueva Alianza, which supplied the macadamia nuts for the chocolate truffles we had for desert. Folks from the Santa Anita cooperative, who also joined us at the table, donated the coffee we enjoyed.

To catch many sustainable food options at once, head to the food forum to be held in Casa No’j on April 5th, 2009. It will feature sessions on topics such the origin of our food products and how consumers can make a difference with the products they purchase. Local restaurants and producers will be present.

Just look around and you’ll find all kinds of local sustainable options here in Xela and see that supermarkets aren’t the only way to shop. Plus, meeting the people who make the products you buy makes them more special, particularly when you know that you are contributing directly to the local community.

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