I love visiting various local farmer’s markets in France. For a social anthropologist, the French marchés can provide many clues as to what the local culture is like (from demographics to regional delicacies). The marché is not only about shopping for food but also a social event where the locals like to catch up with one another. In fact, my husband’s grandmother used to meet up with her two close friends at a local teahouse after her weekly marché ritual. In our town in Normandy, the marché takes place twice a week — on Monday and Friday mornings — all year long, come rain or shine. The town center is closed to local traffic on those days…I cannot imagine many towns in the US where the town center closes twice a week for a local farmer’s market. Even prior to the recent locavore trend in the States, the French have always eaten what was grown locally and what is in season. While it is harder for me to keep this tradition in the US, I do like the fact that there are more farmer’s markets popping up in New Jersey and that we have a growing awareness of eating locally-grown produce. It is a bit sad though because New Jersey once had a strong farming culture that decreased dramatically in the late ’50s with suburban development.
Creams and jams from local farms