There's fiery red in the tree's behind the yard, the farm stand has closed, the night chill has a real bite and everyone in the anchorage is headed south to Florida, the Bahamas or beyond. Its October. Back in California, its time to head to Mexico, as we did at this time two years ago. We read recently in Latitude 38, a San Francisco based sailing rag, of cruisers living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico who are thrilled that they can now acquire their favorite hot dog relish at the local Costco. Others recommended to southbound cruisers to fill the bilges with Starbucks coffee since it is more expensive in Mexico. I don't understand. I know we all cruise for different reasons, but coffee ... to Mexico? They grow and sell for very few pesos some of the finest you will ever drink, but it will come in a brown paper bag with no label, and definitely no platitude of the day. Our recommendation to southbound cruisers is to leave your food lockers open, forget you ever heard the word Costco, and follow the locals so that visits to the markets and small stores of Mexico will be a necessity and there you will have an adventure to savor for a lifetime.
Provisioning here in Deltaville is not quite such an adventure, but nevertheless local abundance can be taken advantage of. Although there is only one supermarket in town there is also a farm stand from which we have enjoyed sweet, succulent peaches (July/August), profuse tomatoes (all summer), crisp cucumbers (all summer), sweet yellow corn (July/August) and some of the very best apples we've ever tasted (August/September). But the Chesapeake is really all about seafood and particularly shellfish. The summer was crab season, blue crabs are the locals, each about the size of one's hand. We have eaten our share, learned to tell the difference between Jimmys and Sooks and although we can't crack'em with the locals we haven't gone hungry either. Mussels are plump, inexpensive and plentiful. In September the lowly Spot and Croaker were delicious lightly grilled on the barbecue. Now it is oyster season, for generations the major cash crop of the Chesapeake watermen. The local seafood wholesaler, J & W Seafood, has them in the shell, 100 for $35. Before we leave here we'll be looking for a couple of hearty oyster lovers to share a ton over a cold ale or two.