The frenetic activity today reach the markets of supplies, where they expect a large influx of customers ahead of Christmas Eve. Unlike previous years, the prices of the products most in demand for the holidays have not suffered the usual increase of these dates. Most of the food keeps the same amount as throughout the year and, even, some like the sweet potato or the potato have dropped.
Just as Christmas has been felt throughout the Canary Islands for several weeks, with the streets of the cities and towns lit up and decorated for these dates, the hustle and bustle of shopping has also reached the food markets. The insular abattoirs of Gran Canaria and Tenerife work at full capacity to meet the demand especially of lambs, piglets and piglets, while sales of vegetables such as potatoes or sweet potatoes, atypically economically compared to other Christmases, have increased notably.
Santiago Bolaños, manager of the Vegueta Market, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, assures that there is no longer the price increase in the most coveted products, as was the case in the past, taking advantage of the growing demand for Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve dinners. "The food market is very mature, there is a lot of supply and a lot of competitiveness, so prices are more stable and these big variations are no longer present," he says. Consumers have progressively changed their shopping habits and no longer consider it necessary to provide themselves with food weeks before the holidays to save costs.
Prawns and avocados are the most demanded starters for the night of the 24th. Only in the first fortnight of December, in Mercalaspalmas have been marketed about 51 tons of this fruit, of which more than half correspond to the varietyhass, the most expensive and in which there has been an increase in the price of 52% compared to last month, reaching 8.68 euros per kilo compared to 3.50 euros per kilo in Mercatenerife. On the other hand, although frozen prawns and prawns remain throughout the year at 17 euros per kilo in Mercalaspalmas, the commercialization of these seafood increases from an average of 900 kilos per month registered in September and October, to 26 tonnes in November and dicember.
In the Mercado de Vegueta, the fishmonger Adrián Santana explains that the amount of prawns does not usually vary throughout the year because "there is a lot of competition and if you raise prices, you do not sell," he says.
Likewise, in order to guarantee the quality and freshness of the meat products that will reach Canarian tables, the insular slaughterhouses of the capital islands have increased their activity significantly in recent days. "We have gone from sacrificing between 30 and 40 animals a day, to 220", both sheep, cattle and swine and, to a lesser extent, poultry, explains Alfredo López, manager of the Matadero de Tenerife. Who details that, to fulfill all the orders, these facilities have increased the staff in nine people for about three weeks.
Lopez emphasizes that in general, in December, more meat is consumed "not only because it appeals more to cool temperatures or holidays, but also because of company dinners and friends' appointments". His counterpart at Grandero Matadero explains that the work in this center is organized, exceptionally at this time, through quotas and with prior request from the farmers. In addition, "our employees extend their workday because work increases between 15 and 25% for about 20 days," continues Agustín González, who lists that 668 baifos, 496 lambs, 642 pigs, 123 cows and more have been slaughtered. of 25,000 chickens in this week prior to Christmas Eve and to supply, mainly, the island of Gran Canaria.
"It costs us something more expensive to buy meat from producers at this time, but we have never passed on that increase to our customers," he says.Roberto Santana, responsible for one of the butchers of the Vegueta Market, while serving a long line of people. For this reason, he acknowledges that his business increases sales at Christmas, but not income, because "it does not seem fair that if they buy us all year, we will raise prices for the holidays." In addition, Santana concludes, "this way we get customers to wait until the end to buy and consume the product as fresh as possible."
Nor will the fish be lacking in the island menus. María del Pino Hernández, head of one of the fishmongers in the plaza of the Gran Canaria capital, does not stop receiving telephone orders. And it coincides with the rest of the sellers in that "as customers see that prices do not rise, they wait until the last minute to buy." Mainly, explains Hernández, whole fish for cooking in the oven, "but they also ask me for a lot of cherne and monkfish, which we are selling at 13.90 and 15.90 euros per kilo," respectively.
Whether they have chosen meat or fish for the Christmas Eve menu, the majority of the islands' clientele agrees that potatoes are the best accompaniment for both proposals. Not surprisingly, it should be noted that in the Canary Islands more than 148 tons of this tuber are produced annually in about 9,500 hectares. "The new ones from the country, from Tejeda and Gáldar, potatoes to wrinkle and the black potato from Güimar are the most requested in these festivals," says Alberto Jiménez behind a counter full of fruits and vegetables in the Vegueta Market. In addition, it indicates that the country's potato is at 1.30 euros per kilo, "it has become very cheap, because about 15 days ago it was 1.80 euros and other years it usually goes up in price, but it is being an atypical Christmas" , he says strangely.
Finally, the dessert. Undoubtedly one of the star dishes of Christmas in the Canary Islands are still the trout of sweet potato, the other tuber most bought at this time. Mercalaspalmas has sold more than 5 tons in the first fortnight of December at an average price of 1.38 euros per kilo, the cheapest of the last 4 months; and in Mercatenerife, where it has almost the same price, 1.40 euros per kilo, the sale of 6 tons was exceeded. The price of this product, of which 4,107 tons per year are cultivated in the islands in more than 345 hectares, touched the past 5 euros per kilo, but this time "it is cheaper than ever, we are selling it to 1, 80 euros ", concludes Alberto Jiménez to continue dispatching diligently.