Two young girls run outside the parking lot of Casa Latina. They proceed to enter the building, running down the aisle to their mother. I look up and there are dozens of colorful piñatas dangling from the ceiling. It is slightly clustered and a bit overwhelming when I walk in. The market smells of freshly cut meat. I look further down the aisle and all the way in the back is a deli. There are maybe six to eight aisles and two cash register lanes, but only one is open.
There is a steady flow of shoppers and the line for the register grows. The man behind the counter yells something in Spanish. Out of nowhere, a woman runs from the other side of the market to open the other cash register.
The shop is filled with customers of Hispanic or Latino descent. As I continue strolling through the store, I see a boy wearing a Dutchess Community College sweatshirt and another boy wearing a Vassar sweatshirt. It is interesting to see an eclectic mix of people .
I go back to the deli to see what is offered. There are a selection of deli meats, as well as some authentic choices such as whole pig heads, Mexican sausage and even goat.
When I asked the shoppers why they prefer Casa Latina, many were happy to reply. Arturo Basques is a Poughkeepsie local, and a frequent shopper at Casa Latina. “There is a lot of Latin produce here that places like Stop and Shop and other local markets don’t have,” he says.
A bit further down the aisle, a woman is picking out a bag of fresh tortillas off the top shelf. Her name is Erika Vega and she is also a frequent customer at Casa Latina. “I like coming here because they have all the Mexican items I need, “ Vega said. “I like the Mexican cheese and peppers that they have. I come mostly for spices that regular grocery stores don’t have. They have pretty much all the ingredients I need to cook my mom’s favorite recipes.”
In the next aisle, I find another customer, Naomi Ko, a first time shopper at Casa Latina and student at Marist College. “I have never been here before but I always pass by it on my way home from work,” Ko said. “For some odd reason I was craving churros and thought it would be a fitting place to check. I wanted to try something new and I decided today was the day. I am always one for trying new things and Casa Latina seems authentic.”
I struggled to make my way towards the exit. Someone had left a cart in the middle of the two register lanes which made it slightly difficult to pass through to get to the exit.
There are definitely some interesting items at Casa Latina. The Owner of the shop is Jose Rosario. Repeated calls to the owner were unreturned.