Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cause for celebration--our new village market.

   Back in June our boulangerie suddenly closed, which meant no more baguettes, croissants, little quiches, patisserie and other daily essentials. A new boulanger hasn't come forward and our nearest source of supply is Laroque d'Olmes, 5 km away. It's been tough.
   Many French villages are too small to have their own boulangerie. What usually happens is that a travelling bread truck comes around, parks in the village square, toots its horn and all the ladies line up for their daily bread, having a good chat in the process. Another bread source could be somewhere else in the village--an épicerie or a café for instance--is named the dépot de pain.
    When we first bought a house in Léran back in 2001, the village had its boulangerie, a village store that sold everything from very good cheeses to very warm slippers, and a butcher that was hardly ever open.
    These days, we rely on the trucks that, at specific days and times, visit the village each week. The butcher's truck for instance stops at the end of our Impasse so that necessary fare like duck confit, and bacon-wrapped quail stuffed with wild mushrooms or sausage are only a 30-second walk away. Reason enough in itself to live in France.
    Anyway, there was massive rejoicing in our house a week or two ago when a leaflet showed up in the post-box announcing "Les Halles de Léran". Our very own village market! Now firmly installed on the front of the fridge, the leaflet lists, day by day, who is setting up shop in the covered space across from the bar that was once the home of the fire station.

Tuesday to Sunday: Baguettes, croissants, pains au chocolat and pains aux raisins, plus a couple of tables, and a coffee machine. And sacks of potatoes.
Tuesdays: Locally made cheeses, yogurt and fromage frais. You can order farm-raised chickens and ducks too for pick up the following week.

    Tuesdays...Here's Christine, the vegetable lady, who also sells her gorgeously fresh produce at Lavelanet on Fridays and Mirepoix on Mondays. She used to set up a stall outside our post office one day a week. I'm not sure if you can make out some of what she's selling but, besides carrots (pale yellow and deep red varieties as well as the usual), haricots verts and truly superb heirloom tomatoes, today you could buy Jerusalem artichokes and black radishes. She brings in clementines from Spain and grapes from Italy too.
     Wednesdays, it's just the boulangerie and "café". Thursdays, it's the turn of a butcher, and someone selling plats cuisinés--takeout basically. Plats again on Friday. Definitely worth a look as I hear that last Friday's was paella. Saturday, a grower is bringing in potatoes from the Pays du Sault between here and the Pyrenees, and Sunday, it's just the boulangerie.
      Look to the left of Christine's stalls and you can make out stacks of bags. Pet food, available every day the market is open. Everyone in the village, including les chats and les chiens, is delighted.

1 comment:

Veronica said...

What a simple and brilliant idea! Could be copied by more villages I think.