I believe in feeding my family a wholesome, chemical-free diet. Coronado is making it increasingly easier to do so; in the past few years I’ve seen huge strides being made in the availability of organic and eco-conscious products.
That wasn’t the case when I first moved here. I remember having clients with dietary restrictions visit for property tours…weeks before their arrival, I would call ahead to the local restaurants and stores to make this or that special request. Today, I needn’t do so. I know that the community will have most everything that person needs.
Coronado has the rare ability to grow in accordance with its residents’ tastes. For years, I’ve been watching the community shape itself around the expanding population of expats and vacation homeowners- and the progress has been remarkable. As the organic movement has grown internationally, so too has it grown in Coronado- where more and more people are supporting organic.
This week, I’ve decided to give a little tour of the best shops for buying organic in Coronado.
The Best Places to Shop Organic in Coronado
With 4 supermarkets and dozens of shops, Coronado has more options than you could hope to use in a day. While all the supermarkets have started to carry at least some organic and eco-friendly products, I find that the best selections come from Organica and Riba Smith.
Organica is a cozy little shop that offers an array of food items as well as health, cleaning, and beauty products. While I can’t get all my groceries here, it’s a great little place to shop for specialty products that other places don’t carry.
Their gourmet tea selection would delight any connoisseur, and I have to practice serious self control when browsing through the gourmet nut spreads. They also have a fine selection of all-natural health and beauty products.
Below are a few items I purchased on this particular trip. The best deals out of the bunch would be the Organic Ezekiel Natural-Sprouted Bread, Organic Peanut-Coconut Butter, Vanilla Almond Milk, Apple Cider Vinegar, and the toiletries (natural toothpastes and soaps.) The most expensive items were the wine and teas- items I could have easily skipped over, though I do have a penchant for a glass of fine wine in the evenings and gourmet tea at noon.
When Coronado got its own Riba Smith in 2013, the community couldn’t have been more pleased. One of Panama’s favorite grocery chains, Riba Smith is preferred for its imported goods and selection of eco-conscious inventory. While our Coronado branch is smaller than its Panama City siblings, I can find everything the family needs.
Since the store is relatively new, they are frequently changing things up- bringing in new products to see what sells. Every time I go, there are new organic and natural goodies to browse through.
Another nice thing about Riba Smith is that you can request specific goods from any of their sibling stores. So if you’ve been up at night, dreaming about that great brand of chips you found in the city- Riba Smith Coronado will bring it in for you. They also offer home deliveries of groceries, and have set up Coronado’s first recycling center.
Organic products are always pricier than their GMO-filled counterparts. As with all products in Panama, I find that some organic items cost about the same as they would in North America, while some are pricier. (Canadians, you’ll find less of a price difference than your American neighbors would.)
My strategy is to spend the extra bucks on staple foods and skip over the snack foods that, while tasty, are unnecessary. (I know the organic gummy worms taste great, kids, but I’d hardly call them a necessity…unlike that wine.)
The Mailbox Money-Saving Hack
So what if you find that your favorite brand of fancy-pants tea is too expensive to justify?
Well, you needn’t give it up- thanks to this deliciously sneaky hack.
Coronado has a Mailbox etc. in the town centro- a major convenience considering Panama’s lack of mail service. $29 a month gets you a mailbox and up to 2 kilograms of free shipments every month. (You can also pay more for a higher monthly kg allowance.) The shipments are all forwarded from a corresponding address in Miami, FL.
Now, Amazon Prime accounts ($79/year) offer free domestic shipping on all orders. Hook that account up to your Mailbox Etc. address and you’ll save a bundle ordering your monthly goods from Amazon (which, as we know, usually offers better deals than U.S stores.)
I use this hack to order all the goods that I find are more expensive or hard to find in Panama. I can’t imagine how much money it’s saved me over the years.
So…how hard is it to eat organic in Coronado?
Eating organically in Coronado is becoming easier all the time. For every organic product that makes its way past the register, the store is taking note- and taking orders. As more consumers start shopping eco-consciously, I have a feeling that organic products in Coronado and in Panama will only grow, while the prices will decrease.
I have to say, it feels good to be part of a community that grows in accordance with the tastes of its residents. Watching Coronado progress over the last several years has been a fascinating experience; I’m keen to see what the future has in store.