A Year of Local Produce

paris local seasonal produce may green mango purple carrotsparis local seasonal produce juneparis local seasonal produce julyparis local seasonal produce augustparis local seasonal produce septemberparis local seasonal produce vitelotte octoberparis local seasonal produce november romanesco purple cauliflowerparis local seasonal produce december purple carrotsparis local seasonal produce january beet blood orange saladparis local seasonal produce february romanesco green mangoesparis local seasonal produce march borage cauliflower blossomsparis local seasonal produce april parsnips

My mom remembers when food started tasting different: beef went from grass-fed to corn-fed, apples lost their flavor, everything became waxier and bigger and more uniform. Not surprisingly, I never enjoyed produce like pears or grapes in the States. Coming here was a revelation. It took me awhile to get used to dirt-covered, blemished produce, but now I love finding slugs in my cauliflower. It means my food is wholesome, the flavor uncorrupted; everything's going to taste the way it's supposed to. Waiting months for my favorites to come back in season makes me appreciate them that much more! 

Anyway, I've gotten a few questions asking where I buy the purple potatoes. They're called vitelotte and I get them at Joël Thiébault's market stand. He's at Rue Gros on Thursdays from 7-2 and Avenue President Wilson on Saturdays. Real French people usually only eat them once a year or so, but we have them once a week because they're closer to ancient tubers, domesticated by the Incas on an Andean altiplano. The first cultivar was blue, and Incas grew a whole rainbow from pink to yellow and orange in all shapes and sizes. Faced with the challenge of farming a vertical surface, they bred different strains so plants grown next to each other wouldn't have to compete the way they do in a monoculture. Different, complementary neighbors thrive in different planes of sunshine, soak up water from different root levels, and overall capture more resources than would be possible under same-species competition. The resulting yields were impressive and resistant to disease or weather changes- an increasingly rare feat in our polyculture-deprived world.

Click here for a Paris market guide.
Paris to Go