Oink!

(Post 53 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

One of the most luxurious things I ever bought for Haven, my property in Saskatchewan, was a huge deep freezer. It was the first time in my adult life that had a place for such a thing and it was life-changing. I am surprised by how many people I know who don’t think to use their freezer for anything more than ice cream or the extra pound of meat that they bought on sale. The freezer is my favourite tool for preservation of all types of food and it is ideal for this hot humid climate I live in where canning doesn’t have the lifespan it has up north. I knew that I wanted a freezer here, but the unreliable power grid made me leery. I had a nosy neighbour unplug my freezer at Haven and while I caught it pretty quickly, I realised just how devastating the loss would have been if I hadn’t. The power in this house from the time of move-in was much too flakey for me to invest in a freezer full of food — with huge voltage fluctuations and frequent outages.

But after the landlady had the main breaker panel to the house changed for a newer one and CFE, Mexico’s power company, changed the metre and beefed up the connection between the street connection, the metre, and the new breaker panel, I saw huge improvements and only one major power outage of a few hours that an unopened chest freezer could handle with aplomb. So I started shopping for a freezer, discovering that they actually aren’t that expensive here, but that there isn’t much choice. The two main brands I found were Midea, a Chinese brand that is just coming on the market, and Mabe, an established Mexican brand. Some of you may remember my opinion of Mabe stoves being very negative, but I have no problem with their refrigerators or washing machines (my Mabe washer is serving me very well!). There wasn’t a lot of information about Midea out there yet, but after scouring reviews from different countries (it’s so helpful to speak three languages!) I knew I was going with Mabe.

Now, what size of freezer did I need? I thought five cubic feet would be enough, but when I was chatting with my mother on Mother’s Day, the subject came up and she told me five would probably be perfect for now but not leave me any space to grow, so she said that unless the difference in price was hugely different, she strongly suggested a seven-cubic-foot model. We always had at least one deep freezer in our house growing up, so having one is part of our family culture and how I learned to manage my food stores, so I trusted my mother’s opinion. So now, I knew I needed a Mabe seven-cubic-foot freezer and that those come in just under 6,000 pesos while a Midea was closer to 5,000 pesos.

Since it was a “holiday weekend” I decided to see if there were any online sales. And boy did I find one — Bomssa had a seven-cubic-foot Mabe chest freezer on sale for $5,249, one day only. The next best sale price I found was $5,600 pesos. I’d been shopping for a while and knew I’d found a really good deal. So I added the freezer to my cart and discovered that I could only pay by debit card. And HSBC declined the transaction. I was livid!

I contacted Bomssa on Facebook to see if they could do anything for me, not expecting much. It’s not a store I’m super familiar with. There is one just a few blocks from me on Calle 60 that I shopped at for my appliances, but they never had the best price, so I’ve never bought from them. Imagine my surprise when a sales rep reached out to me via Messenger at 9PM on a Sunday night! He said that he could put in an order on my behalf and authorize it to be cash on delivery. I told him to go ahead, thanked him profusely, and he told me to look for an email Monday morning with my order details and the date of delivery.

The email came around 10:00 on Monday morning and, of course, delivery was on the one day that week I had to leave the house! So I called the number on the invoice and dialling the extension number got me to the rep who had just sent the email. We rescheduled delivery for Wednesday, but he put a note of just when I would be away the next day in case the delivery driver could get to me sooner. Bomssa outsources their delivery, so they couldn’t schedule me within a precise window of time.

Not even two hours later, the phone rang. “Hi, I’m picking up Bomssa deliveries and saw your order in the list for Wednesday. I have just enough space left on the truck and you’re so close by. Can I come now with your freezer?” And just like that, I had my freezer and Bomssa gained a loyal customer!

I could already tell that my mother was right about seven cubic feet being the perfect size.

Soon as life returns to normal and I can go shopping again, I want to pick up bins for sorting my food, but for now, I can still find everything. One thing that was great was gaining space to store things like rice and flour that I normally keep in the fridge (since they don’t last in the pantry). The freezer is actually a better storage location as it is lower humidity.

Once the freezer was plugged in and running, I messaged some friends who raise lamb and pork on their ranch outside of Mérida and butcher the animals themselves. ordered myself a ton of pork (I don’t like lamb)! The pork arrived this morning. I got bone-in chops, bacon, ground, shoulder, and loin. It feels great to support a local business that ethically produces meat that I can trust to be all-natural and of high quality.

All of this was 950 pesos. As a point of comparison, ground pork is usually around just under 75-90 pesos per kilo in supermarkets while they charge $150, but the supermarket price is for run-of-the-mill pork produced by huge companies. These pigs are a Pelón mix, a local breed that I know from my few times eating at higher-end restaurants serving local dishes is much more flavourful, and the meat is from a small local business. So I think the prices are very fair and I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about the quality. I have some leftovers to eat this weekend, but Monday, I look forward to a pork chop dinner!

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