So as I've said, I love Tuesdays because of the market. There are a few stands I love in particular from the region, including one that I discovered not too long ago, maybe a month or two ago, mostly because it's hidden behind some stands I'm not a huge fan of & rarely go home that way so I had somehow missed out.
Well, I try to buy a few things from each stand every time, help support the farmers I really like. One day the woman at this tiny stand says, "Oh! THAT's where you're from! You work at Botanic!" I was a bit surprised. Yes, I work there, but with the bajillion people I see every day, there is no way I remember every face, or if I do that I can place them.
So whadya know, she came into my store and recognized me and then placed my face the next time I came to her stand. So we got to chatting. She's a very passionate woman, very intriguing, and we came to talk about my life in France, that I'm from the States blah blah. She mentions that she has a daughter who would be interested in some private lessons in English, nothing fancy, just to help bring back the English she learned back in high school for her college courses. Now normally I say no immediately. I'm over teaching English, it's not my thing. I feel awkward about it. But for some reason that day I was in a particularly good mood and I said yes. And ever since, every Tuesday morning I go to the market & buy my local produce from the other vendors and then Marilyse comes over and we sit in the garden and read the Magic Schoolbus or Ramona Forever. We agreed on trade, which we both prefer, so for an hour or two of my time I get fresh local veggies. It's a pretty sweet deal, really.
And then last week she invited Rémy & me to her house in Tallende for lunch with her family and then an afternoon roaming their vast fields of fruits and veggies. That day was today and let's just say the day was as fabulous as it the whole affair has been serendipitous. Their house is french-ADORABLE in every possible sense. Lunch was fabulous of course, with fresh-picked produce made with lots of love. And LOTS of conversation. I learned an incredible amount about organic agriculture and agriculture in France in general.
Then it was off to the fields. I was left speechless. They work so hard and are so invested in organic as a lifestyle that it is hard to translate their passion onto paper with just these simple words. To them it is only logical to produce our food using methods that do not pollute our bodies and our earth, and the stories they tell of other agriculturists who grow "organic" produce just for the trend or because they can charge more with an organic label are quite frankly scary.
Favorite quote of the day, M. Martin talking about whether or not it's a profitable profession: "If all we end up with after a year of hard work is ten francs (of profit), hey, it's still ten francs! That means we're not in the hole, so it's a good year. In this world, or in any, you just have to stay positive."
The best part: I know exactly what they're growing so I can get excited as the season progresses. I cannot WAIT for their tomatoes, peppers, green beans, potatoes. Every Tuesday I will wake up giddy for more! It was an amazing experience and it makes me want to get to know more local farmers and see how their gardens grow. With silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row?
We'll just see. :)
keep it raw,
...and here is the rest of it.
a few words about miss chelsea elizabeth...
oregon-born, seattle-raised, bellingham-bred and franco-refined, she had moved back to the states from her affairs across the atlantic & now resides in columbia city with french husband & love of her life rémy. they spend most of their time taming the garden, taking care of their three chickens & two cats, and preparing the urban homestead for a new little chick of their own.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Since happening randomly upon the bagel book & making delicious bagels all the time I have had this insane desire to go to Paris (which is very not chelsea due to my love-hate relationship with that ugly beautiful city). Why, you may ask? Why to check out the author's restaurants!
Considering Rémy & I both had to go to Paris for immigration paperwork, we used it as an opportunity to check out the veggie scene in the City of Love. We were happily blown away, which unfortunately now means we have the urge to go to Paris all the time.
Upon arriving at the first glimmerings of dawn on a smoggy Thursday morning, we headed downtown to check out the original shop, Bob's Juice Bar. We got there just as it was opening at 7:30am and the place was deserted save for us. First impressions: Generally groovy. Simple. One main table à la Old Town Café in Bellingham, meaning there's a possibility for chatting it up with other customers. A cactus & a guitar in the window. Shelves of books in both English & French & some pretty damn good ones, too. And a shelf full of paper bags of fresh local produce, which as I understood it could be purchased weekly as an easy way to eat local & in season, like we can at our farmer's market back home.
The guy behind the counter, a fellow Anglophone, was nice but not super chatty. Normal as he was busy opening shop. We ordered two smoothies & lemon poppyseed muffins which came directly out of the oven, moist & warm & oozing with deliciousness. Granted it has been a few years since I've eaten a muffin of any kind, at least since I've been living in France, but those muffins were literally heaven in my mouth. If I could order delivery to Clermont, I would do it every morning.
In the early afternoon we headed to Kitchen, the newest addition to "Bob"'s veggie/Paris scene, which does more lunch food/mealy type stuff than Bob's, which seems to be more breakfast-oriented. (Of course I was at Bob's in the early morning & Kitchen afternoon, so maybe these assumptions are false, I don't know.) First impressions: Packed, which means the food must be fab. Bigger than Bob's, with two long family-style tables. An electric guitar & a piano which rocks. Three or four employees, the type of people who smile at you and you just want to KNOW them, you know? Interesting people, intriguing, and I could say the same about the customers, too. AND, the cherry on top, "BOB" himself (Marc Grossman) greets us! We walk in carrying a Nalgene & he asks us who makes them, etc., interested because their water bottles are known to not leach chemicals into whatever liquid they're holding. We chat about his bagel book, about the states, about food in general. The guy chats up a storm & in the best way. He seems genuinely interested in what you have to say & he just has a presence about him that makes you smile. Chatting with one of the staff members we mentioned that we had been to Juice Bar that morning & she left us this nugget of wisdom: "Yeah, both are awesome but they have totally different vibes. People generally tend to stick with one or the other." It seems totally true. Juice Bar seems much more mellow, Kitchen very chatty & upbeat.
We got there late afternoon, not too long before closing maybe around 14:15 or 14:30 so we weren't trying to be choosy and opted for the "whatever you have left" menu, which turned out to be veggie guac burgers served on a bed of spinach with potato salad & coleslaw on the side. De-lish. Unfortunately Rémy was still healing from his bout of strep throat last week & was not feeling too hot, meaning I lucked out & basically got to eat twice.
We ended up going back the next day for lunch to try out more. Rémy had a pesto veggie burger & I had the gaspacho soup with a raw salad. Smoothies both days, both different, both fabulous. Plus on day two we met an awesome vegan couple from Indiana grâce à la table commune and spent a good hour or two swapping stories & working on Rémy's English! Both days the staff were fabulous, the kind that makes you want to stick around after closing & see what their lives outside of work are like; both days the food rocked, the kind that makes you want to eat there for lunch every day of your life, granted you lived in Paris & make a good chunk of change.
All in all, Coutarel & Coutarel give both resto's two very enthusiastic thumbs up. Thanks Marc for starting something epic & the staff for being awesome & we hope to see you again soon!
I love Tuesdays.
Simple as that. I always have Tuesdays off, there is the local farmer's market and I love chatting with all the local vendors. Plus today it is sunny but not too overbearingly hot AND I got three letters from very-loved friends on the other side of our beautiful globe! It would be impossible to not be in a good mood.
Sooooo much has happened in the last few weeks it's ridiculous. Sicknesses, papers in Paris, job offers. I have a lot to talk about, so I'm going to post it out and try to catch up.
Overall sentiments: it's summer & life is good!
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