So, What's The Story On The Fruit Cart?

This guy’s been working his fruit cart for almost 40 years

Before the sun comes up each day, Roman Guererro sets up his fruit stand in downtown Cabo, on the corner next to the Mar de Cortez hotel. Six days a week, he sets up his stand and then takes it down. Roman has a permit from the city that allows him to set up on this corner, but the stand has to be removed at night.

Roman’s fruit stand is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and until 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. It’s closed on Sundays. 

He arrives at his corner in his truck at 5:00 a.m. with two helpers who unload the white wooden cart, several cases of fruit, a large ice chest, four umbrellas for shade, two large tubs for the fruit rinds, a hand juicer, a few big knives and stools. They go about setting up the stand in the dark. 

fruitcart.JPGRoman and his wife, Isabel began selling fruit in Cabo 36 years ago. They decided to sell fruit because it’s hot here, and people need something refreshing and cool. Back then, there wasn’t much fruit available in Cabo, so Roman had to go to La Paz to buy his fruit. He didn’t have a car back then either, so he would have to push the heavy handmade wooden fruit cart into town every morning and back home in the evenings - not an easy task. These days, Roman has his own truck and gets his fruit from wholesalers in Cabo, both of which save him a lot of time.

Roman’s fruit stand is a family business – he only employs relatives. His son-in-law, Juan, has worked for him for 18 years. It takes two to three people to run the stand. One person prepares the fruit cups, one squeezes fruit into juice, and the other takes the money. A large cup of fruit costs $4 USD and a small cup is $3. You can get a large glass of orange or grapefruit juice for $1.50.

Roman and Isabel have been able to raise a family of five children on the fruit stand income. All of his children finished high school and two attended college, which he is very proud of.

Roman says it’s important to have a variety of fruit because it attracts customers. The stand is loaded with piles of fresh fruit, including pineapples, mangoes, watermelons, cantaloupes, honeydews, apples, jicama, papayas, coconuts, oranges, grapefruits, cucumbers, bananas, lemons and green coconuts for coco water. A glass case with a block of ice in it keeps the large pieces of fruit cold. 

Your fruit cup is made to order, so can you decide which kind of fruits you want. As the customers make their selections, Ramon takes the pieces of fruit out of the glass case and uses a large knife to expertly slice it on a wooden cutting block. Then he loads the fruit into a cup, piling it on until the cup is almost overflowing. To keep the fruit from spilling out, Roman slides the cup into a small plastic bag which forms a rim around the cup.

Then it’s time to add the toppings. You can choose from chili sauce, salt, lime juice, yogurt or granola. When the stand first opened, at a different location, they used to sprinkle chili powder on the fruit. The old location was much windier, and the powder would often blow into people’s faces. To prevent this, Roman decided to make the chili powder into a liquid.

The chili sauce is made at home using his grandma’s secret recipe. It has now become their signature chili sauce and customers love it, even though it’s not very spicy (or maybe that’s why they love it). By 1 p.m., they have already gone through five tubs of the sauce.

In the meantime, the two large plastic tubs have quickly filled up with fruit rinds. Every evening around 6 p.m., a guy comes by to pick up the rinds to feed to his cows and pigs. Nothing goes to waste here. 

During the course of the day, the fruit stand will serve more than 100 customers. This corner, at the intersection of Lazaro Cardenas and Vicente Guererro, is a perfect location because it’s a high traffic corner for tourists, pedestrians and vehicles. Cars constantly whiz by. Drive through service is also available. Pull up to the stop sign at the corner and place your order. Then, drive around the block and return to pick up your order and pay. Like we said, he's got this down.  

Roman says that years ago, in the original location, there would be a line in the morning during the winters. It was the tourists from Canada and the northern U.S. who couldn’t wait to get some of that delicious fresh fruit they couldn't get at home.

Part of Roman’s morning ritual is greeting cars and pedestrians. He’s known for his loud whistle. The whistle started as way to let people know he was there, but now, it’s his signature greeting. As he prepares fruit and friends drive by, he lets out a loud shrill whistle and they whistle back. When Roman’s not there, it’s quiet on the corner.

Roman loves his job and isn’t going to quit or retire soon. He’s a people person and thrives on the social interaction his business gives him. After serving up fruit here in Cabo for so many years, he knows most of the people who walk or drive by. People stop to say hello and ask about his family, and you can tell he’s in his element when he works. 

Roman truly enjoys serving you that cup of fruit and does so with a smile on his face. Fresh fruit and service with a smile, all for a few bucks. Sounds like a pretty good reason to go visit that fruit stand, doesn’t it?