Monday, June 25, 2012

Grocery shopping in St. Barths

Today I'm linking up to the Baptist Missionary Women Blog and we're posting about how grocery shopping is on our Mission Field.  How exciting!  Well, I love cooking and trying new recipes, so buying the goodies to make some fun stuff is just icing on the cake for me!  So, heres how it works for us on St. Barths.
 I start my adventure off at Marche U.  This is a store that they also have in France.  It carries French products, so a lot of things are different than in the states.  I try to buy most of my groceries here because they seem to be least expensive.  (On most things, but not all)  They are just like Canadian supermarkets in that you have to bring your own bags.  I carry a stash of reusable grocery bags in my trunk.  One of the most unusual things for us to get used to at the store is their grocery carts.  All four wheels go in all directions!  Now, this might sound like it would be easier to maneuver, but it actually makes it hard when your cart is full.  (Like ours often is!)  The store is on a small slope.  When we leave and start getting up speed our cart starts moving (sideways) down the parking lot and it's hard to make it turn the right way!  It's sometimes a little funny!

Then, after Marche U we head to JoJo's  It's not quite as large as Marche U, but they usually have some things that we couldn't find.  They carrry products that are more common through the caribbean.  I also pick up the majority of my produce here.  It's not all that fresh (it's hard to find fresh produce here) but, it is usually less expensive.
Then, I end my day at MiniMart.  This is a pretty small little market, but I love it!  They carry a good bit of American Products.  The prices are pretty high, but I've recently found that their fresh chicken breasts are cheaper here than anywhere else! 

Do I find everything I'm looking for?  Usually that's a no.  It's definitely not like shopping at Walmart where you know they will have what you need.  Now that we're in the slow season it's even harder to find some things.  When that happens we just make a change to the recipe, or a change to our menu altogether.  It really has made us appreciate the small pleasures in finding something that you'd been missing!  Some things that we usually can't get here are: Grape Jelly (how do you make a PBJ without GRAPE jelly?), Chocolate Chips (sometimes they carry mini chips from France, but it's expensive and the bags are about 3 oz of chips. We have started buying chocolate bars and breaking them up.  I think I like it better that way!), Root Beer and Cream Soda, Creamed Soups (although Mini Mart carries Cream of Asparagus, which  isn't too bad!), Taco Seasoning, Cheddar Cheese (sometimes they have it, sometimes they don't), Drink Mixes (we miss Crystal Light and Kool-aid!), Toaster Struedles, Pop Tarts, American Type Cereals. (they do import some, but we've found the taste is different)

But, the thing that has been the hardest to get used to is the prices.  Whew!  It's expensive!  Here's a few examples in US Dollars (to help you be thankful for your prices in the States!)

A Loaf of Bread (Holsum is all they have and it's not exactly always soft and Fresh)-$5.31
A Dozen Eggs-$2.75
A Gallon of Milk-$16.40

We've learned to make even more from scratch such as creamed soups and bread.  We've also converted to shelf milk.  Like I said at the beginning, it's definitely an adventure!  But, I've seen the Lord starting to open doors to people we meet in the stores.  Since we go to more than one store, the Lord is allowing us to meet more people, so that is a blessing!  I love my grocery shopping adventure and really do enjoy it!


  1. I can so relate to the shopping carts! Ha Ha Same thing here. It was interesting to see that most of what you can't get, I can't get here either.

  2. We are in the Philippines and I can relate to the shopping cart thing too!!!! I hate them, it is so hard to keep it going straight. LOL

  3. Love the colorful buildings! You miss a lot of the things we do. I can't believe the price of a gallon of milk! We buy the milk that is not refrigerated and it is R9.99 for 1 Liter which is about $1.50.

  4. I enjoyed your post. It's so interesting to see what you can get or not get in different places around the world.
    I noticed that many of the items on your can't find list are not nutritious so perhaps it is a blessing in disguise though I know it is difficult to go quickly from having things to not having them. The milk there is very expensive. This may be a stupid question but do they have any cows on the island or does all milk have to be imported?

    1. Sooo true! Maybe it is a blessing in disguise! :o) There are a few cows on the island, but as far as I know they aren't milking cows. All of our milk is imported, and when it's low season we usually can't find fresh milk.

  5. Just came across your blog. I really enjoyed this post. I love reading about how things are different in other areas. I can't imagine milk being that high and people fuss over here for it being like $ Have a blessed day!

  6. Sushi meat, peaches and guacamole!