Saturday, October 18, 2014

Casa Colectiva



Abrazos 107 -1


Yes that is me. If I am looking a little rough around the edges it is because I have just clawed my way out of a miasma of illness that lasted more than a month. After being confined to my bed (and the bathroom!) for the better part of 5 weeks it was wonderful to get out and about.

Gray skies and torrential rains have finally given way to bright blue skies and sunshine with just a hint of a fall nip in the air. Glorious to be alive. On one of my first forays back out into the world, yesterday I discovered Casa Colectiva. Those of you who follow my blog know that I favour local shopping and supporting local businesses over the giant supermarkets, even though it is sometimes more convenient to just stop into Mega or Soriana and do a one-stop-shop.

Casa Colectiva is a great alternative. Several San Miguel businesses have come together in a long narrow building on the Libramiento to sell their wares. Some have locations in “El Centro” as well but want to take advantage of the Libre traffic and the availability of parking.




La Buena Vida is an artisan bakery located across the from Bellas Artes in the Plaza Golondrinas in San Miguel centro. They are now also a part of Casa Colectiva, and my mouth began watering as soon a I caught sight of their counter, laden with sourdough, whole grain and ciabatta breads, scones, empanadas, a pastry turnover stuffed with either savory or sweet ingredients, and a showcase full of pastries that could put weight on a scarecrow (let alone me). La Buena Vida can also be found on Saturdays at the Organic Market in San Antonio.




And they make glazed donuts. Not the usual cake donut with some glaze on it, that is Mexico’s idea of a glazed donut. A real honest to goodness huge, fluffy glazed donut. Charming young Dalia, in the photo above, explained that they come in orange, chocolate and vanilla flavours. Todd and I shared an orange one. It was spectacular.




Now you can’t have an orange glazed donut without coffee, so I plunked myself down on the a stool at the next counter over from the baked goods. La Ventana Café, where Karla made me a beautiful cappuccino from fresh organic beans from Chiapas. Josefina Valentini, the proprietor of La Ventana also has a location in San Miguel centro, at Sollano # 11, right around the corner from the Parroquia.




After donuts and coffee we moved on down to Bodega Organica to find a wonderful array of certified organic produce. They offer farm fresh organic eggs, a great selection of lettuces, including radicchio, alfalfa, cilantrao, parsley, squash, bell peppers, parsnips, carrots, green and purple cabbage, purple onions, cambrays, an incredibly flavourful onion that looks like a large green onion, chives, beets and beet greens, 10 types of tomatoes and even Russian Kale!




Maya Lucas and her husband Luc Monzies are the proprietors of Bodega Organica and Maya was kind enough to sit and chat with me, giving me an overview of everything that they do. And they do a LOT. Their selection of vegetables is extensive and very different than what you will find in Mega. They import certified organic seeds and Maya tells me that they have just planted one of my favourites, rainbow chard.




Maya oversees the Casa Colectiva location and also has a stand at the Saturday Organic Market in San Antonio, while her husband Luc creates organic urban gardens for rooftops and terraces. Not only beautiful, they are also functional and Luc provides maintenance programs as well. They sell seedlings, herbs and soil mixes to cover all your organic gardening needs and will teach you how to become an organic farmer in your own home.

Bright, articulate and passionate about what she and Luc are doing, Maya gave me a huge amount of information in a short space of time, so I hope I have got everything right. I also hope Maya will comment and correct me if I have not, LOL. At any rate, the best way to find out more about Bodega Organica and what it has to offer is to drop by and chat with Maya.




Any orchid growers in town, will be thrilled to discover Jim Robert’s little corner of Casa Colectiva. You can buy the orchids or you can grow your own, with his special orchid mix potting soil. He also has stones and lava rock, possibly for drainage, maybe for decoration. Orchids are very far from my area of expertise, but he appears to have everything you might need to grow them.




Luna de Miel, honeymoon, also has it’s own little corner of Casa Colectiva and offers honey as well as other bee related products, including products containing propolis. Propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant in the hive to stop up small openings, prevent diseases and parasites from entering the hive and to inhibit fungal and bacterial growth. It is also used to “mummify” small animals, such as mice, that find their way into the hive, thus rendering them harmless and odorless.

There is also current biomedical research being done on propolis as an antimicrobia, an emollient, an immunomodulator, as a treatment for allergies, an oral hygiene product  and as an antioxidant, although it has already been used for centuries medicinally.




The upper floor of the building houses SOL, sustainable, organic and local. SOL is in a large open room which can also be used as a meeting room or for any number of other events, but primarily it is where Douglas Cullen offers cooking classes twice a month, for only 100 pesos. Next week he will be teaming up with Luc Monzies for Kitchen Garden Cooking.



Last, but certainly not least, Los Carrizos are also a part of the Casa Colectiva. A group from a small town near Querétaro, they promote all things natural. They make natural medicines, shampoos, creams tinctures and even dental clay as an alternative to toothpaste. They also promote ecological building and solar power.

Well if that didn’t pique your interest, I am doing something wrong, LOL. All that is left is to drop by Casa Colectiva at Libramiento a Dolores # 11, and have a look around. They are open Monday to Saturday from 8 AM to 6 PM and Sunday from 9 AM to 3 PM.




Map picture


  1. Thanks for the map my dear! It is SO hard to find anything on the libramento as it starts all the way over by Soriana. So addresses mean nothing. Your photo of the place and the map ought to do the trick! Thanks. So sorry to hear that you've been sick. Had no idea. Take care.

    1. I'm glad you are going to go check it out Barbara, and tell all your friends. I love places like this. And thanks, I am feeling much better now, but it was one heck of a "gripa". Todd got it first and passed it on to me and we both had trouble getting rid of it.

  2. Well if I lived in SMA I know where I would be spending all my money! Wow, you guys are lucky to have that kind of bounty at your doorstep, I hope you support that kind of organic tienda.
    We have a miniscule version of that, the market is the size of a phone booth, but at least it's a start. We just don't have many people who would pay for better quality produce like you show in the photos.

    1. You're right Tancho, we are so lucky! The organic Mercado in San Antonio is really extensive but it is only once a week. Casa Colectiva is open 7 days a week and the produce is fantastic. I really prefer to shop locally and support these kinds of businesses and that is very easy to do when they offer such quality products.

  3. Great post, very informative, and as always, great photos!

  4. Thanks Dan. I can't take credit for the photos though. Todd was patiently following me around with a camera again, LOL.

  5. Sorry to hear that you were ill; but glad that you are now feeling better.
    Everything looks so good, I am drooling :)

  6. Thanks Brenda, It's great to back among the living, LOL. I am drooling too, it's going to be very difficult not to drop by there every day for one of those donuts!

  7. Shannon, you and Todd did a wonderful job with your vivid descriptions and his beautiful photography! We feel honored and I'll be sure to show the girls at the store! We appreciate your interest and care and hope to see you soon, at the market or at the Casa Colectiva. Thank you and many greetings,

  8. You are so welcome Maya. I really think that you have something very special at Casa Colectiva and I wish you the best of luck.

  9. Hi Shannon,

    I work at Bodega Organica and we love the photos you took for this blog, is it OK if we use them on our website?



    1. Of course Becky, you are more than welcome to use the pictures. Just give my husband, Todd McIntosh the photo credit. Thanks

  10. Just love this place!

  11. I agree Russ! It's a must visit at least once a week.