In South America, wherever fruit and vegetables are in abundance, juice ladies are lining the streets and markets. We recognized this phenomenon in Brazil and Bolivia, making sure to take advantage of the cheap and delicious liquid meals whenever we had a chance. When we arrived in Cusco, Peru, we were happy to see the rows of juice ladies, peaking out from behind their towers of fruit. They were calling out to us and waving newspapers in our direction. All of them vying for our juice dollars. When the juice ladies see a new customer, the battle is on. They know they only have once chance. Once you choose your juice lady, you’ll always be true to her blender.
If one morning you go for a juice and find your juice lady busy blending for one of her other loyal customers, you’ll wait. You won’t visit her neighbour. You’ll wait because she is your juice lady and she makes the best juice. She knows your favourite fruit and vegetable combos, and all of your preferences. She wouldn’t dare put water in your smoothie. Oh no. She knows you like your juice pure and natural. Maybe you like it with freshly squeezed pineapple, or maybe orange. Straw or no straw. She knows.
It sounds pretty magical, doesn’t it? But it begs the question, how do you find your juice lady? It’s easier than you’d think. You will see her, and you will know. That will be that and she will forever be your juice lady.
But there’s something you should know about juice ladies. They love their customers as much as their customers love them. And they will show their love by serving you more juice than any normal person can comfortably stomach. Juice isn’t sold by the glass. It’s made by the blender. Typically, a liter or more. Perhaps, if you’re really hungry, you can get through that much blended fruit. Vegetable juice is a whole other story. Yes it’s cheap and delicious but your body can only handle so much. It’s a good idea to bring a friend, agree on a combination, and share. Nothing offends a juice lady more than leftover, wasted juice.
Juice ladies are easy to find by hard to capture on film. I wasn’t able to get a photo of my juice lady. Like most, she’s very camera shy. The best I could get was a photo of her stall in the distance. Even without a picture, I’ll never forget my juice lady.