The Value of Markets
In mid October, Capestang introduced their second Circuit Courte Marche and it was a huge success at bringing customers back to the much slower mid-week market.
August 14th 2015, Capestang hosts another Harvest Market on the square. A great way to support our local producers!
At peak time, after a half day of school on Wednesday, many families shopped for lunch and the square was full of children, tourists and vendors. The local restaurants arranged special menus to promote regional products and all the tables were full on the square.
There was a local musician playing her accordion and singing folk songs, a painter painting on a large canvas in the middle of the square with students huddled around. A husband and wife creative team displayed both their published books and watercolors for enjoyment and for sale. And the Médiathèque had a reading corner for the kids and the librarian read books to the children.
There were extra booths that lined the streets around the square; organic fruit and vegetables, homemade preserves, a wine tasting, paella, hearty organic breads and soap that filled the air with the scent of lavender. There were volunteers giving samples of tapenades on fresh baguettes and a kid’s cooking corner.
The added merchants gave a special ambience and diversity to the market. The weekly traders were also there selling their goods; clothes, shoes, flowers, roast chicken, meats, purses, and olives.
Farmers’ markets facilitate our local producers and sustain life within our borders. It is imperative we as consumers make a conscious choice to live off our land.
Markets have been going on for a very long time as Capestang dates back to the 14th century. 10,000 traditional markets like this are open daily throughout France.
It is commonplace for residents to meet up at the square, as socializing is just as much a part of this custom.
Sadly, Languedoc markets have declined in patrons over the past few years. The openings of supermarkets on Sunday mornings are partly to blame. People, who work in nearby cities, organize their shop for once a week and instead spend on the brand names at the big chain stores.
Ten Reasons to buy local
#1. Lower emissions -Food travels only a few kilometers to the markets instead of travelling hundreds of kilometers from Spain or Morocco to your table.
#2. Less packaging -This means less to throw away or recycle, reducing your carbon footprint.
#3. More nutrients – Once produce is picked, the harvest starts to lose nutrients. The faster you eat the crop the healthier it is for you.
#4. Heirloom strains – Farmers keep genetic diversity on their farms, by keeping traditional local varieties, instead of mass-producing genetically modified variations on industrial sized farms.
#5. Sustains our landscape – By shopping local, you are preserving our beautiful countryside that comes from the farms that surround our village; from the endless miles of grapevines as far as the eye can see, to the olive tree lined roads, and all the farms in between.
#6. Farmers promote health – Healthy soil and clean water are needed to run a farm, which in turn supports our environment and benefits our wildlife.
#7. Saves you travel time – By shopping the markets you do not have to drive from one local producer to the next searching for high-quality organic products. They are all in one place.
#8. Builds tourism – Open-air farmers’ markets are an attraction and part of what makes France the #1 tourist attraction in the world. If they disappear it may affect the travel industry.
#9. Meet the locals – The best part of the market is getting to know the sellers. They are always happy to see you. Sample the products and talk to the farmers, and soon you will hear the stories of how their families have been cultivating the land for generations. These grassroots relationships strengthen our communities.
#10. Buy unique – For birthdays, buy your gifts at the market. There is a large number of handmade jewelry, scarves, aprons, tablecloths, flowers and colourful woven shopping baskets. While you give unique presents you also support the community.
How can we sustain our markets? If every household shopped their local market twice a week and spent just 5€, that would ensure their survival. A cup of coffee at the local café through the low season, a few fresh baguettes from the baker and a handful of fresh produce is enough to support your locale.
Homegrown food is the future of France.
The Capestang market is Wednesdays and Sundays 8:00-13:00 next to our collegial in our town square.