This market is in my first WWOOF location – Marcellaz, France. It belongs to Miki and Hanny, my WWOOF hosts for 28 days. I have been here for a week and a half already and I can not get over this market, the trust aspect of it is truly inspiring. (WWOOF is volunteering on a farm or something close to it and having food and board given in return).
“Marche” is French for market.
Miki grows 90% of the items placed inside this marche himself. He grows them on his farm, in his greenhouse or on his property somewhere. (There’s plenty of somewhere). The other 10% of produce placed here is from him buying certain products in larger quantities and reselling them in smaller quantities or from other methods. One of those methods is, since he has been doing this organic farming thing most of his life, he has gotten to know a lot of people, sellers, markets and has made good connections with them. So, he can get good deals on veggies from a hundred miles away and have them delivered to his house. Which perhaps people in his village do not have the means to do or knowledge to do.
But Miki does not increase the price of these hard to get veggies that he can get ahold of, nor does he charge high rates on the organic veggies he grows himself. He has this website bookmarked on his computer, that tells him the going price of produce in his region at that particular time, and he firmly sells it at that price listed. He can increase the price, sure, if he wanted to. Yet, this man is of integrity and he stands behind never increasing prices to his neighbors, to his friends or to his fellow citizens of Marcellaz. He is a honest man, I respect that and am humbled by that.
The marche is a self service market. Excuse me as I explain what “self service” means, since it is such a foreign idea for me coming from my American and sheltered past. Image yourself as a French Monsieur or Madam, you’re driving along the hilly roads of Marcellaz, trying to finalize some dinner plans for the night in your head, but you cant seem to figure out what to cook! You suddenly see a sign on the side of the road that reads “ICI OEUFS BIO” (organic eggs here), and you’re thinking something organic could be a great idea for something to cook – so you stroll on in. You then lie your eyes on some beautiful squash (of which now have already thought of a few recipes to use it in) – you know you must buy some! There are no cash registers or cashiers at that, so what do you do? You take the tag off of the produce you desire and put the tag and money listed on the tag into the mailbox of course. I mean, is that mind boggling to anyone else? Or is this just the sheltered American side of me that can not phantom that concept? So, now you happily take your squash, drop your €’s (Euros) and drive on out towards home to cook up some ‘courge’ – squash.
I have already spent several hours, and I expect many more before I depart this farm, prepping, weighing and pricing these vegetables, nuts and fruits for this marche and I have enjoyed all of it immensely. The skills and techniques that Miki has taught Jess and I so far, only one week in, is unmeasurable and we can not wait to try these trade abilities on our own produce once we get to our own place – whenever that will be. Learning how to prep the perfect piece of earth to plant seeds in, to exactly knowing when walnuts are done drying out and learning how to cut the perfect amount of roots off of the apple celery without hurting it. Everyday here is a learning experience, and by no means, work.
If I saw containers and bags of walnuts from the side of the road, I would totally come and kill a bag myself. Delicious AND home grown?! Yes please.
A photo of the onions for sale. Love the way the French spell onions…