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Yucatan News: WalMart to Hot Sauce

News Starting February 22

Wal-Mart Growing in MexicoWalmart in Mexico
Wal-Mart de Mexico is investing $12.5 billion USD in 300 units in Mexico City. They are also investing $77.6 million USD in distribution and logistics and the wind-power park in Oaxaca will provide electricity for over 348 stores in Central Mexico. The Tabasco distribution center will expand to serve seven states, including the State of Yucatan. This news came from just-Food. As Mexico’s middle class continues to grow, and as long as Wal-Mart continues to provide tens of thousands of jobs, there will continue to be a favorable climate toward doing business with Wal-Mart and all of its business formats in Mexico.

Mexico’s Financial Future
It has been announced that Mexico’s banking sector has posted an impressive 11% increase in annual profits for 2009. This prompted an increase in the projected GDP to 3.9% from 3.0%. Interest rates are holding steady, the stock market is headed up and it looks as if Mexico will be past the global economic crisis well before any of her neighbors. We suspect that this has a lot to do with not having had far to fall and, therefore, not having very far to go to climb back on top of the situation. With business rapidly expanding throughout the country, we are confident that 2010 will be an excellent year for everyone in Mexico.

Physics Kids in Yucatan!
There are 4 Yucateco students who are moving up in international physics competitions. Yucatan already produces world class mathematics and chemistry students, who place near the top in worldwide competitions every year. Most folks tend to grimace and turn away when physics is even mentioned, but these kids claim that much of that is caused by the physics textbooks that appear to be little more than complicated cookbooks. We hope someone is listening to these four young Yucatecos. Take it from an old mathematics, chemistry, and physics teacher… kids will learn anything you put before them if they see a use for it in real life and if it is fun. Every one of those subjects, mathematics, chemistry, and physics can be great fun if somebody will just tell their story to young people in the right way. Maybe someone will listen to these four young Yucateco students and add careers in these formerly scary-to-learn areas to the list of future opportunities for all of Yucatan’s kids.

Of Tilapia, Ostriches, and Gators!Tilapia Farming in Yucatan
Yucatan’s farmers have worked with a number of farming notions, and not all of them were associated with plants. In some places, they actually built above-ground ponds and are farming tilapia. It isn’t on a grand scale yet, but its a good living and an activity that fits well with today’s push toward sustainability. Ostrich farming, although certainly possible, is another matter. Three of seven original birds are still living in Yucatan, but farming has not begun due to a lack of incubators. Having come from an area in which ostrich farming was tried, we suggest that this crop might be too much of a good thing and is better left alone. Finally, they are currently running tests to see if alligator farming could be profitable here. Crocodiles are, after all, being raised commercially on the coast of Campeche. We have another bit of advice for them that might save them time and money. “Tastes like chicken” is the funny, but oh-so-true little saying that comes up whenever gator farming is mentioned. So, why not just farm more chickens?

There is a real desire for free-range chickens from a growing health-conscious population herein Yucatan. That would be cheaper and easier and a whole lot safer. You have to wonder… if the rest of the world knows about ostrich and alligator farming, and if these are not all in full swing farming … perhaps there is more peril in it than profit. Now, tilapia! That one’s a keeper and congratulations to Yucatan’s tilapia farmers, especially during this season of Lent!

Lionfish Lemonade
Cozumel is an area in which lionfish threatened to become a significant problem and efforts to fish them out and register the “bodies” has not been able to completely remedy the problem. Never fear – when life gives you lemons, just make lemonade! …and that’s what they are doing in Cozumel. Sunday found the first ever Lionfish Fishing Tournament in full swing in Cozumel.

What a great idea! It won’t cure the problem by itself, but then neither did depending on local fishermen to capture all of the stragglers. Taken together, efforts by local fisherman and sports fishermen can end a serious problem before it has a chance to do any serious damage. Now that’s lionfish lemonade in our book! Good luck to all of the lionfish hunters on all the coasts of Yucatan!

Value of Tourism Promotion Tourism in Yucatan
Statistics on how much money was spent promoting tourism in Yucatan vs. how many tourists came to Yucatan because of that promotion shows that the ratio was down in 2009, even though tourism itself continued to grow and Yucatan faired better during the economic downturn than most of the rest of Mexico. This is an interesting bit of news and one that the State has taken to heart.

If it isn’t expensive tourism promotion that is bringing our visitors to us, what is it? We suspect that word of mouth and relationships with many of our tourist families through the years is at the heart of their continued return – as well as the growing numbers of family and friends who come because they hear good things about the Yucatan. Isn’t it interesting to suspect that “just being nice” actually might have a monetary value when it comes to bringing tourists to see the wonders of Yucatan?

And who knows? Maybe Yucatan Living and all of our readers have something to do with it too…

Elio Rojas Wins
This week, Elio Rojas defended his title for the first time against Guty Espadas Jr. here at the Poliforum Zamna. Apparently, Guty came on very strong in the 12th round, leaving Elio a bit wobbly, but it was a case of too little, too late. Elio kept his title and the crowd enjoyed the afternoon, which included quite a few other matches as well. Apparently, boxing is alive and well in Merida!

Many Thanks to El Diario de Yucatan and Progreso Hoy
This past week, El Diario de Yucatan ran an article about extranjeros in the beach towns and Progreso Hoy picked it up and ran it as well. The article was very nice, and detailed much of the daily living impact of Canadian and American expats and snowbirds in the beach towns. We learned that there are now approximately 500 households of expats and snowbirds in Chicxulub, Progreso, Chelem and Chuburna; and we had to smile at where we are now a common sight (malls, supermarkets, walking our dogs, and even in church). We love being considered part of the normal panorama of our adopted state and will do our best to be productive residents through economic impact, as well as through community service. Thank you again to the two excellent newspapers who have been so nice to the expat and snowbird community.

Mayan Cuisine in USA
Are you reading this from Southern California? If so, you might want to consider attending next week’s Mayan Tasting Dinner at Mercado La Paloma restaurant next week, a repeat of last week’s dinner at Chichen Itza Restaurant. The dinner includes dishes that are almost impossible to find outside of the Yucatan… quite a treat! Find out more from this article in the LA Times.

On the opposite coast, the New York Times is raving about Gabbi’s Gourmet Hot Sauce, a recipe handed down from her Yucatecan great grandmother. This habanero sauce comes from an old family recipe and is sold at the very posh Dean & DeLuca Deli… and just think! You can probably get it or make it at home (if you live here)!

The School for Authentic JournalismSchool of Authentic Journalism in Merida Mexico
The school spent four days in Merida and five days in Playa del Carmen, learning the ins and outs of journalism and forming bonds with other journalists from around the world who are equally dedicated to telling the stories of the people. They were inspired by a talk by James Lawson, the Civil Rights leader who helped prepare participants for the Nashville lunchcounter sit-ins. And they were inspired by an equally interesting talk from Mario Menendez, the publisher of our local paper, Por Esto! Curious about why the paper is named Por Esto? Find out in one of the articles written by a student from the school. Last week, the journalists said goodbye and many of them have returned to their homes around the world. A few others are working hard preparing videos of the event, which we  look forward to seeing soon!


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9 Responses to “Yucatan News: WalMart to Hot Sauce”

  1. When did the article mentioned on foreign residents in beach towns run in El Diario? I am not able to find it.
    Maybe a link in the article would help?

    Gracias por su execelente website!

  2. Dear Working Gringos,

    Love YL. You guys are really on top of it. Can’t believe the timely coverage of Chichen Itza’s tasting menu (Los Angeles). We were at last Friday’s dinner – a real treat. Personally, don’t know how I’d manage without their cochinita pibil and chile kut (the latter of which gets a shout-out in Saveur’s March 2010 issue). Our delightful experiences (not just culinary) in this one mercado in So Cal have enticed us to venture to the Yucatan next month. And our primary resource in planning this trip has been Yucatan Living. So well-rounded and insightful. I sincerely hope we manage to run into you during our Merida travels so we can thank you in person. Keep up the good work.

    PS: You’ve earned these kudos without even tapping the hometown advantage points (go SLO).

  3. The alligator farm sounds lucrative because of there skin; to make purses, belts, hats, etc. The skin is probaly more valuable than the meat for consumption. Thus Alligator meat for consumption is probaly more of a by-product.

    Any Deer farms yet? Deer use to be abundant in Yucatan, why isn’t anyone farming deer to bring that back to Yuctan?

  4. Miguel, we have heard of deer farms in the south near Muna… but we don’t know much more than that.

    Tracy, thanks for the compliments. Drop us an email when you get here at info [at] yucatanliving [dot] com and maybe we can arrange to meet. Are you from SLO or LA? We’re from both, actually…

  5. For Steve and Miguel


    I got the expat story from Progreso Hoy, who credited el Diario. I know how I would feel if someone passed on my work as their own or with incorrect or incomplete credit – so I included el Diario as well, even though I did not read it there. The story I read was here:


    I honestly didn’t think about the alligator skin side of the business. I am from Louisiana and we have alligator meat everywhere. Really – might as well just eat “white meat” chicken.

    Re: deer farms… we have an ecological preserve with a deer herd in the southern part of the state, but any deer that are raised for hunting outside of there will most likely be reserved for hunting by Mayans only – which is currently the law in Yucatan.

    As a meat source, deer meat is not generally well liked because, like alligator and rabbit, it is all muscle and no fat. Alligator and rabbit are both much like chicken breasts, but the “no fat” gives deer meat a taste that is “unusual” and makes it tough, so it has to be cooked a long time…. However, we learned to “popcorn” it (cut in little bites, batter and quick fry it) after Katrina and it’s pretty good that way … IF you can handle the pounds that cooking it like that will pack on you… :)

  6. WGs — I was born and raised in SLO, went to school in Davis, and have lived in LA since the end of ’88. I’ll definitely email you when we’re in Merida!

  7. and just to mention for those who don’t know:

    Yucatecan deer are small, not like we’d see in the USA. They are about the size of a goat and even that sounds large (small goat?). They’ve been hunted almost to extinction before and likely only survive because the rugged terrain provides a few isolated areas to hide. Year-round plant growth does not occur in all areas of the Yucatan peninsula so a lack of consistent food supply makes it hard for them to multiply like Whitetail or other large deer do in the USA.

    Hunted by the Maya, jaguars, ocelots, coyotes and more, they’re under quite a bit of pressure without sport hunting.

    A number of restaurants in the US, even outside Louisiana, sell quite a bit of alligator meat, mostly battered and deep-fried. It takes exactly like chicken to me. Maybe it will become more common in Yucatan?

  8. The alligator business here in the U. S. has diminished greatly over the last two years. Many of the farmers are selling their stock and getting out of the business.

  9. I want to work on aquaculture farm, anybody with a job help contact me on ssalitad [at] Gmail [dot] com


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