To market, to market to buy a fat pig….

Yesterday I was splitting the logs of the last of our winter firewood in the warmth of the sun. The crisp sound of the logs splitting under the axe has the effect of bringing my neighbour, Fernand, out of his kitchen for a matinal “Ca va?”. This entails a welcome break in the work as well as a chance to share in secret information concerning the nefarious activities of local ne’er do wells. This information is offered under a strict bond of silence which makes the vow of  Omerta take on the casual assertion of “ know me, I wouldn’t tell a soul”. Yesterday’s revelation brought into question the trustworthiness of various “organic” producers of this parish. As the majority of my 8 neighbours are farmers as were their families for generations before, and I am not, much of what he tells means nothing at all to me, but I still nod sagely whilst leaning on my axe. In fact his eyes, as he speaks, are scrutinising the axe and all the signs that it bears of misuse by a rank amateur. I rely on him still to guide my hand as I sharpen the chain saw and the axe as I never get it quite right without his judgement. The condemnation of the local organic felon was followed by a stroll to his vegetable patch to get some of his truly organic leeks – or so he said. The rules of organic farming seem so complicated, if I have understood them correctly, that I’m not sure if I believe that any local “Bio” producer can be above suspicion. It has been said that if all the rules of Rugby Union where applied to the letter it would be nigh on impossible to play a game and I feel that organic farmers’ rule book may share the same author. I’m probably happier trusting rather than condemning. When I’m at market I’m sure that I, and everyone else, are paying more than we should for each delicious purchase. I feel this because I’m now used to being penny pinching and paying as little as possible in supermarkets, as opposed to my previous life where I would go out of my way to find the most expensive example of whatever product I felt that I needed. Markets offer me the same “Ca va” as my neighbour, Fernand. That’s why I enjoy choosing the beetroot that I want, or the exact four sardines that have caught my eye, safe in the knowledge that the stallholder expects me to be selective. Market seemed to be the right place for Easter. There is a congregation of all kinds of people, there is the arrival of the fresh and the new and above all a feeling of celebration without cant or doctrine. A good day for the humans of this little corner of a troubled world.


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in Digital photography, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, friendship, harmony, Markets, photography course, Photography holiday, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to To market, to market to buy a fat pig….

  1. hotlyspiced says:

    I would love to listen in on your neighbour’s gossip! And how wonderful to be able to shop in a market – so much better than shopping in a supermarket. Happy Easter!

  2. Mad Dog says:

    Great pictures – I’m off to the Farmers’ Market myself shortly 😉

  3. Tandy says:

    I’ve not heard that opening line since I was 11! I love the markets in Europe, organic or not 🙂

  4. My kind of congregation…
    Look at that beautiful garlic!

  5. chefconnie says:

    Our farmers market opened yesterday. Yay!

  6. Happy Easter Roger!
    Beautiful post 🙂 But you really think you are overpaying at the market?

  7. I like seeing your street shots. Very cool and of course a different vibe than your food shots. I love ’em all though. Have a great Easter.

  8. Had to smile because all of that “country gossip” goes on here! Of course, everyone swears everyone to silence and then after a glass or two of anis, all caution is thrown to the wind and rumours fly around like sawllows in the summer! Loved the shots, expecially the beautiful violinist.

  9. A very convincing argument for market over supermarket….you have set me thinking, Roger.

  10. ChgoJohn says:

    Your mention of your neighbors and their historical ties to farming brought a smile. My family began moving into a rural area of Michigan some 40+ years ago. They’re still considered “newcomers” to many of the community and will be forever. That’s pretty much where the similarities end, for there are no markets anything like yours. You were so correct to label them both congregation and celebration.
    I hope yours was a great Easter, Roger.

  11. a. m. f. says:

    first off…that opening shot is simply brilliant…so alive!
    I adore our summer’s farmer’s market, but I’m oft suspect of many of the ‘farmers’. That said, my taste buds can confirm the ‘real deal’. It does cost a small fortune, but the flavor is so worth it! Hope your Easter was delightful ~

  12. Lovely spring market shots and music too!

  13. Michelle says:

    “Bio” or no, I love the markets of France. (I love the markets here, too. I love markets everywhere.) The photos are wonderful, as always. I particularly like the one of the violinist. What a great juxtaposition of the violin case and the vegetable crates.

  14. “A good day for the humans of this little corner of a troubled world” How very true. The images and blog have really captured the essence of a great French market.

  15. That’s it. The next place I move to must have an all-year market. I’m ready for the spring/summer market to start in Chicago.

  16. ericbenoist says:

    i just discovered your blog, congratulation…. very interesting and wonderful pictures…..I love the one with the violinist! bravo

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