At Let’s Eat The World and Cook’n with Class Paris the motto has always been, Always Fresh, Always in Season. This is important to our chefs who take great pride in what they do. While we always consider the seasonality of fruits and vegetables, we too sometimes break the rules. Who hasn’t had craving for tomato salad in Winter? After all, we are only human but whenever possible we all stick to this motto. Eric and I are trying to raise a conscious eater. Our 3-year-old son eats better than either my husband or I ever did at his age. But our parents had to worry much about what was being put into the food. We aim to follow the seasons and stay as local as we can for most items. It’s working so far but there is always room for improvement.
For the most part, the average consumer doesn’t have to think about the seasonality of what he or she eats. Modern living has managed to make possible what would have been impossible not so long ago. Either our consumption pushes the market or the market pushes us towards consuming. – an entirely different debate. In a country like the US, with different climates from one end to the other, you have access to a large variety of foods year-round. If you add in the production from hothouses, arguably you can grow just about anything, just about any time.
Before moving to the south of France, as a city dweller, I gave no real thought to the seasonality of fruits and vegetables. Yes, I knew that tomatoes in Winter weren’t that great or very local – I mean that’s easy. But what about spinach or kale or garlic?! What about turkey? If you walked into a supermarket in Montmartre, you can find any of those items at any time of the year. With each passing year, it becomes easier and easier. But if you live in greater France and are not in a large city, you know that turkey means Christmas. Thinking you’ll get a whole turkey at any other time of the year is not possible – ask my friend the Barefoot Blogger.
I was aware of the seasonality of a few fruits and vegetables before my move, but garlic? Really? That one still surprises me. I don’t know why I assumed this should be available all the time but apparently, I was mistaken – sort of. I went looking for garlic one day at the market and I was nearly laughed at for my ignorance. Il n’y a pas d’ail madame (there’s no garlic Madame).
In France, even cheese has its seasonality. The French can be just as confused about what and when like the rest of us, so don’t worry. Particularly if they have moved from one region to another – they may well forget what grows when. Asparagus in February, a Parisian would ask? Yes, if you were at the Uzès farmer’s market on Wednesday, you would have seen the first of them. But aren’t they expected in March/April?
It was not just living in the south that opened my eyes, it was also shopping more for produce at a farmer’s market. What a different experience it is to go to a supermarket. While there are plenty of French people who prefer the supermarché to the marchés, for convenience, I say I’d take a marché over its super cousin any day. If for nothing else, for the sights, sounds, and smells.
As far as seasons go, my son and I love Spring/Summer. I wouldn’t say he knows his seasons (he’s still asking me what happened to Christmas and can we sing Jingle Bells again), but his palette remembers the fresh produce each season. The funny thing about this little guy, who I know is exceptional given the way he eats and what he eats, is that if you give him something out of season, he rejects it. It’s just not as good enough.
We are blessed, that is for certain. We live in an area that is teeming with organic, fresh produce. In general, France takes its food very very seriously. While I am not always convinced by the articles that claim that ALL French kids eat like adults even in restaurants; I agree that there are plenty of healthy alternatives that a kid could love here.
As the Winter creeps to an end and we head into Spring, my belly is already rumbling at the thought of all that is to come. While appreciating all that we still have available from the Winter crop – I can’t wait for Spring! If you are unsure of what’s in season and when you can join our Facebook group Will Travel For Food & Wine where we post about food & wine and definitely try to keep up with the seasons. Of course, your seasonality of fruits and vegetables could be different from ours. If nothing else you can dream of the South of France. Perhaps you can also look forward to joining us for a French cooking adventure in Uzès.
See you in Uzès
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