24 November, 2008

Market day.

The Cevennes benefit from an AOC (Apellation d'Origine Controlee, or, roughly speaking, "controlled term of origin") for the sweet onions grown here. That is, they are granted a special, federally-managed certification, as are French cheeses and wines. The onions are that good. I always have a basketful on hand, and they don't have time to sprout, unlike my potatoes, in less regular menu rotation...

For every day of the week there is an outdoor market in a surrounding village or town. Creature of habit (aren't we all just a bit, despite ourselves?), I nearly always go to the two same ones, which means that Monday mornings, come what may, I am in among the (local, organic and conventional) produce sellers; the knife sharpener with his spinning, wet wheel; the weaver (who repairs chairs); the man with the startling bowl haircut who sells living trout out of the back of his specially modified pickup truck; the beekeeper with the unkempt hair like milkweed; the cheese guy from whom I also get fresh butter--sliced from a big yellow mound as I watch; the jovial butcher (photo), who also sells free-range chicken with the claws and head still attached, so the customer can see what breed it is--which of course affects taste--bien sur! (and as one of the unofficial village characters, is always ready with an enormous succulent bone for the dog to demolish); the sausage specialist, with easily two dozen different types on hand (I'm a little awed by the donkey sausage); the garlic and olive seller...
And of course the sellers present depend upon the season. Right now I am buying up the sweet, sweet parsnips, just-pulled beets (picture), turnips, pumpkin and squash(es), all produced down the road from us.After a stop at the bakery and then the Tabac for my news fix, Dakar the Weimaraner and I head for a rest at the cafe-bar. This purely in the interest of exposing a young pup to all the places French dogs are expected to frequent calmly, mind you...And if I order a noisette (an expresso with a smidge of milk) while there, it's just for authenticity.

This morning's market run went slightly less smoothly than usual: I tied Dakar to a sign while I snapped photos (what a tourist!). This was good only in principle, as, having seen another dog, Dakar dragged the sign crashing down, thereby scaring the daylights out of everyone, especially himself. This led (inevitably) to more running away, with the only problem being that the sign and its apparatus remained attached to the poor dog...with me in hot, if somewhat delayed, pursuit.


  1. hi, i'm just starting at the beginning and reading all the way through. i'm so interested in france. your pictures and words are wonderful!

  2. Thanks so much for visiting, PJ (Can I call you that?!), it is a lot of fun to get feedback from others. Especially compliments--I can always handle those, he he.


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