Here’s what I know about strawberries – and it’s A LOT, considering my very first job was as an eleven-year old strawberry picker on a farm in Pennsylvania; the best strawberries you’ll ever taste are from Marche Monge in Paris. On any given day of the week, you’ll find produce markets that pop up all around the City of Lights, and the majority of true-blood Parisians wait to buy their produce at these neighborhood markets once or twice a week. It turns out, one of the best markets in the city, Marche Monge, set up shop only a few minutes walk from my apartment. I spent many Wednesday afternoons perusing the aisles of handmade cheeses, fresh-caught fish, and locally grown produce plucked from the farm only hours before. Despite manyyy grueling afternoons in the Pennsylvania strawberry fields, I’ve never tasted strawberries so sweet until one fateful day in Paris. My mom was visiting from the states, and in my attempt to show her the “real Paris,” we bought strawberries, brie, and a fresh baguette at Marche Monge, then parked ourselves at Jardin de Luxembourg for the afternoon to people-watch and gossip. Three hours (and a bottle…or two…of champagne) later, I had vowed to abandon my academic endeavors and become a strawberry farmer in the French countryside.
To those who can’t travel to Paris any time soon, I’ve learned there are sufficient substitutes to Marche Monge in almost any city. In New York City, the Union Square Farmers Market comes to town every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and draws farmers from states as far as Vermont, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Maryland (Gram recommends the maple syrup stall.) For the laziest of travelers, this is a seriously amazing way to see the real New York City, rather than elbowing your way through the masses in Times Square.
On my way to work this morning, I took a convenient little detour through the Union Square market and found the stalls already bustling with life- trucks unloading wooden cases brimming with fresh vegetables, vendors calling out to one another, and locals leisurely strolling with their morning coffees. On a hazy and humid Monday morning in New York City, I was one strawberry away from Paris.
l’amour & berries-