There are a couple things about August: 1. It is the month that everyone flees Paris. All of France goes on vacation somewhere else. Shops close for weeks, even pharmacies (although they coordinate so there is always an open one nearby), there are long stretches of quiet empty sidewalk, and there are no afternoon sounds of the kids burning through their late day bursts of energy with their friends because they are all en vacances with family and friends. Even the markets thin way out and big holes are left where vegetable, meat, and cheese stands usually are. Sometimes they are temporarily replaced by random kitchenwares or underwear vendors but there is mostly just open space left where it was once crammed with people. It can be strange (where on earth will I get my basil this week?!) and it can be blissful (do you hear that? me neither! so quiet.)
2. There should be amazing tomatoes in August. Tomatoes that burst just from being held and that melt in your mouth into the most refreshing sweetness. Tomatoes you wait all year for. But this year is bad for the tomato in France. At least in our part of France. My mother-in-law lost all her tomato plants (50 I think) because the endless rain and the cool weather did them in. And I'm finding it hard to find the "tomato of my dreams" (Dad). I have hopes for the beauties in this weekend's finds but we shall see.
3. There are so many short-lived, much-anticipated crops coming into the market that I often over do it. Such was the case last week and I was able to make a shorter list this week because my vegetable drawer is still overflowing.
So, here's what we brought home this week:
clockwise from top left
- Watercress and baby greens (purple frisée? and beet)
- Noire de Crimee, Pineapple, and Cornue des Andes tomatoes
- Reine Claude plums
And, lest you think taking these pictures is easy, Albert has a special message for you:
Thanks for that, Bug.