Shopping at the Friday market in Jilotepec is quite an experience. If you’ve never been, you need to make plans to go the next time you are at the Rancho. This is not a touristy craft market, but a one-stop shop for all the locals in the area. Think of it as a Walmart on steroids, where one can stock up on necessities as well as special treats.
Every Friday morning the empty land located near a busy crossroads in the big city (population 70,000+) begins to buzz as more than 150 vendors begin setting up their booths. Many are from the State of Mexico and the surrounding area, but others travel with their wares to take part in this weekly event. This is the largest market in the area and everything you can imagine is for sale.
A major thoroughfare divides the market in two. On one side you’ll find mountains of spices, meat, fish, vegetables, cheese, honey, fruit and a wide variety of other foods to fill the pantry.
The selection varies by season and is always fresh. On the other side of the highway, you can purchase just about everything else. Many Rancho guests love to peruse the selection of cowboy hats, riding boots, and leather belts; but the locals snatch up the clothing, household goods, music CDs, jewelry, tools, and other essentials. There is even a large section of livestock, so you’re in luck if you need to pick up a new horse, goat, sheep, or chicken!
The market is a great place to people watch, too. While enjoying lunch at one of the taco stands, you can observe the children at play or make friends with one of the dogs patiently waiting for a morsel. Sometimes a group of musicians will begin playing guitars and singing.
A feast for all of the senses, there is no better way to experience the “real” Mexico. Make plans to see it for yourself the next time you are at the Rancho.