18 October 2008

France: The Market in Old Cahors

Today I visited the farm market in my town to buy a pumpkin and some organic tomatoes. We have two local markets, running a total of three mornings and one afternoon a week, June through October. One of them is located in a designated market area, which offers a small covered stall. The other is sited along the water, a wonderful place even when the bay breezes are cool.

I lingered for an hour, talking to the vendors and catching up with friends and acquaintances. Because the market also offers space to non-food vendors, I often purchase quilted items, soaps, rag rugs or other locally made crafts. Today a "garage sale" element was added, so there were many other items available. Several of our local non-profit organizations also raise money by selling cider, hot chocolate, brats and hotdogs and candy.

I did not bring my camera, but I remembered it three weeks ago when we visited the Wednesday and Saturday markets in old Cahors, at the foot of the cathedral of St. Etienne. Food vendors set up shop in the cathedral square, while non-food vendors arrange their goods along streets that shoot off or even snake off to the west of the church.

I thought you might enjoy these photos from one of our visits. Aren't those grapes enticing?

I love the spice vendor. The colors and the aromas transport me to the spice countries.

Can you see why I was so tempted by these Jesuites from Lou Boulbil's stall?

The market is a prime source for these darling little rounds of cabecou.

You can also find Provencal fabrics, blankets and mats. Did I mention jewelry, woven market baskets and kitchenware?

Throughout the world, open-air markets are such a wonderful, time-honored source of good food and other intriguing sites and smells, and sometimes even sounds. There may be nothing I love more than an outdoor market.

19 comments:

Judy said...

What a lovely market. I enjoy going and chatting with the vendors every week. It's wonderful because they remember me and some call me by name. Next weekend will be the last until next year and that makes me sad. Thank you for sharing the wonderful time you had.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Oh, Judy, I think we are nearing the last one, too. Farmer Lucy is the impetus behind our market, and I will have to go next week and catch a photo of her.

We still have farm stands up, though, and I will have to hunt one down soon to buy more pumpkins.

Yes, it is fun when the vendors know you!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Our farmers market also ends next week, though the farm stands will stay open until Thanksgiving to sell pumpkins and other winter squash. I think we often gravitate toward markets when we're traveling, as they are the true reflection of the local culture.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

I agree, Lydia, and I try to visit as many markets as possible when we travel. Unfortunately, we can't travel enough to make me happy!

toni said...

When I lived in the east, the farmers markets would close around this time. Here in southern California, they're a year round event. On the one hand, that's great for picking up fresh veggies and fruits - and etc. But on the other hand, it's one less marker for a change of season. I'm probably the only southern Californian who would argue in favor of a change of season!

Christine said...

I love those photos, Mimi. We weren't in Cahors on a market day but enjoyed a huge rummage sale instead where I found beautiful demi-tasse cups, brought home wrapped in socks in my luggage.
Our wonderful farmers market continues on until the weekend just before Thanksgiving - lucky me!

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Oh you lucky Californians, indeed!

Toni, when I lived in Madison, there were winter farm markets indoors for late season things, and jams and jellies and handmade gifts. I bought my mother a rose made from dried apples. It was gold at one time, now it has turned black. But she still keeps it as it was preserved - and very unusual.

Christine, I thought of you often in Cahors, whenever I cooked or hoisted a glass of wine. I also wrap delicate purchases in socks. LOL. It was fun in Cahors, because we saw vendors - like Lou Boulbil, the baker from Agen -that we'd seen three years ago.

Fiona said...

I loved browsing through your market photos Mimi. I was particularly taken with the colourful array of mats and blankets. We need a new mat for the living room, one of those would do very nicely.

The grapes look very sweet and tempting, as do the Jesuites !

L Vanel said...

A very pretty market, Mimi! Your last few posts, inspired by your visit to France are rich and full of beauty.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Fiona, do you have a market in Auckland?

Merci, Lucy. Yes, I guess I was very inspired by France (again). I hope we can return next year.

Eileen said...

Thanks for these photos. Yes, I did enjoy seeing the pictures you took at the market. It is also my absolute favorite thing to do in France. Nothing can compare.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

I agree, Eileen. It's fun to eavesdrop on the conversations, too, even if you don't understand every word!

Fiona said...

We do have markets in Auckland, lots of them actually... they are all over the place especially on the weekends.

We have the car boot sales too, all the same things that you have in the States with the same edibles and other goods.

Cassoulet Cafe said...

I absolutely love outdoor markets too! Those pictures are fantastic...sigh....thanks for a great post!
:)

Farmgirl Cyn said...

Hi Mimi!
One of my most favorite places to go is our local farmers market. Ours, too, has vendors selling more than just vegetables. There are jewelry vendors, handmade soaps, lotions, crocheted dishrags, fresh lamb, duck eggs, spices, breads, pizza dough, pastries...The best tho, is the "people watchin'". It's my favorite part of our market. Hippies, yuppies, grannies, and everyone in-between!

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Fiona, I love the term boot sales. I would love to go to a jumble sale, too.

Cassoulet, thank you! I enjoyed choosing the photos. My husband has some great ones I will post later - they show the people, not the goods.

Same thing at the Cahors market, Cyn. everyone goes. I did see a large number of people who looked to be in their 50s and 60s, though.

Pizza dough at a market - cool!

lady jicky said...

Colour, colour Mimi!
From the spices to the materials for sale in the market and those juicy grapes. Mmmm

Betty C. said...

Great market pictures. I've never been into Cahors though. Maybe I should give it another chance -- I've only been there twice.

Jann said...

Oh, this looked like a really fun place, Mimi! So many sights and smells!