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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Immigrants finding a taste of home is not so far away


When Lucia Almeida moved here from Brazil about eight months ago, she assumed her tastes would have to change. How could she expect to find the bitter eggplant called "jilo" around here? And abobora, the squash that Brazilians hollow out and fill with beef or shrimp stew, surely didn't exist in a Massachusetts grocery store.

"I was very worried," she said in Portuguese. "I didn't think I'd get the vegetables I wanted here."

But her trips to a local grocery store keep surprising her.

Thanks to a program started by Frank Mangan, an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts, Almeida and other Latin American immigrants are able to find more of the vegetables they know from home in their new local marketplaces.

"I'm very happy this is here," Almeida said as she placed a pumpkin-like abobora in her shopping cart at the Market Basket, the Associated Press reports.

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