That’ll show them!

June 18, 2011 at 11:13 AM | Posted in Paris 2011 | Leave a comment

In the wake of an e. coli outbreak in Germany (which was eventually traced to sprouts, but for which cucumbers and tomatoes were initially suspected), the price of tomatoes and cucumbers in France dropped up to 80% in the past weeks. Farmers and producteurs found this so outrageous that they decided they would rather give away the produce than sell it at such a reduced price. I saw an ad in a newspaper saying that farmers would be giving away tomatoes by the bushel outside of the Ecole Militaire opposite the Tour Eiffel on the Champs des Mars, and visions of tomato sauce and panzanella and pan bagnat started swimming in my head. A whole bushel of tomatoes! So, along with two friends and armed with two reusable shopping bags each, we got to the appointed site at the appointed time and saw big white tents and crowds. As we got closer, we saw that everyone was walking away two cucumbers and a small box (about a pint) of cherry tomatoes–not the bushel each we’d been envisioning (and that everyone else had been envisioning, based on the other attendees with multiple shopping bags). I had eaten all the tomatoes after 3 hours.

This tower of vegetables was the most exciting part of the outing. That and the overwhelming French-ness of building a tower of lettuce and giving away vegetables as a protest.


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