Part of the community

I feel very "local" this weekend and it is a good feeling.

Last Saturday, I popped along on the trusty e-bike steed,![](upload://tDFrLeLxSsTTZg8VLcU5cewf0mm.jpg) to the local weekly marché, which is quite big for such a tiny town & very much the hub of the trading and social scene here in tiny, historic Chauvigny (86) to pick up some garlic bulbs. Well, it was packed out and the man on my usual veggie stand was away, so I wombled along a bit further towards the edges of the market, where less people crowded around. I came across a small 'homely' feeling stand, with rough, hand made signs stating 'grown in my own garden''? So thinking, "small,cute,local", I asked the price per kilo. The woman would not answer. She tried to sell me 3 bulbs, first for 5 euro, then at a 'special discount' of 3. When, after a polite refusal I failed completely to escape her greedy talons, I asked why it was so expensive, compared to the other stall holders' garlic, - averaging at 5.50 a kilo,- she became quite agitated and declared openly, loudly and conspiritorially, 'that's because all those others (pointing towards the rest of the market) are importing their cheap garlic from Spain, madame, where the soil is very poor and they don't pay people proper wages soil is very good, it's FRENCH, so my garlic is better quality'.

Well, not being one to shun 'better quality', I listened and docilely accepted her explanation, apologetically, 'but unfortunately", I explained to her, "I am stony broke as ever, and must sadly crawl along to the lower-class, cheaply imported end, in order to save myself the extra couple of euro". This was not accepted in the most friendly of ways, and I had to eventually walk away after declaring in no uncertain terms, 'Non merci, je vais la laisser'. I felt I had betrayed all the good quality, hallowed French soil!

So I fetch up glumly back at Monsieur's placement, where he had thankfully returned from the little boy's room. On paying my 80centimes for 3 huge bulbs, I couldn't help noticing the chalked signage, 'FRANCE', on all but a few of his individual boxes, including my garlic.

Well, I mulled this over a coffee and a bit of a blunder about on my bike. I decided I needed to really know what was what. Who is pulling what wool over who's eyes here?

So I paid a second visit to Monsieur, and told him the tale.(j'ai balancé - spilled the beans) He glanced towards the Dame and told me he knew very well which stallholder I was talking about. He said that they were all getting fed up with her. She was, he said, selling wholesale boxed veggies herself and not at all from her own garden. He was very offended by the tale of his garlic being imported, as he would be seeing as he is in fact a local (would I like to see his fields?) producer/trader, as was his friend, the woman farmer & massive stall owner/producer, opposite. He was not at all surprised. So was not the other seller, who also told me the exact same story. Well I never.

...and lo, life runs on, yet this week there is happily, no sign of the grumpy outlaw garlic lady. I used to be a market trader here so I felt very protective of the other traders in the face of such blatent disinformation. I now have two (albeit not quite social) invites to see two french garlic farms. I think I've truly made some extra friends, by accidental agitation!

Thanks Carol, glad about that .

I've never heard of pickled garlic either, but I will say I used only I piece from a bulb of the purple stuff in the story, in some hummous, and it was the strongest crunchiest juiciest garlic ever!

love the newspaper story too.

Hi Ross,

Please excuse my ignorance, but how do you pickle Garlic? :)

Last week the Sunday Times was not delivered to my local newsagent... on Tuesday Bruno, the roadsweeper, told me that it had arrived! LOL Better late than never and nice to be part of the community of Béziers!

I might just take them up on it...

the vendages is how I came to consider living here...we did them 20 yrs ago, and 30 yrs ago! am sure you'll have a good time, but it's hard work unless the vines are tall instead of low. good luck

Bonjour Jo,

I love the story!

I hope you enjoy the Garlic Farm visit!

Sounds interesting!

If you go I hope you don't mind taking a picture to post!

Well, Jo you know how to stir them up! I enjoyed your write up. Now you should accept their invitations to visit their fields of garlic, you will make friends, I have a very old ,little farmer who has decided to make out of me a vegetable grower, if I don't take good care of my veggie patch he comes and pulls the weeds, plants other vegetables, and I have made a fantastic friend out of him, we have been invited to do the vendanges and also to partake of the famous meal that follows.