This one is just for all of you on the Left Bank. Finally, there is a place on your side of the river, on your side of the city to buy kale. You no longer have to trek to the 16th or the 12th to find your beloved green. Exciting right?
It all comes down to a lovely farmer named Marco. I’d heard about Marco, a local producer that you can read more about here, from Emily, an expat that’s lived in France for almost 20 years and another French woman who frequents his markets on the left-bank and was convinced she’d seen kale at his stand.
To add to the name game, Marco calls kale, chou Hollandaise. Because he gets his seeds from a Dutch farmer friend. I just keep thinking of Hollandaise sauce with a brunch of eggs benedict which is also a treat to find in Paris.
It took me much too long to actually get to Marco’s stand and I’m so glad I finally did. It was the usual morning market scene. Busy farmers selling their goods, hustling to and from baskets filled with turnips, onions and other root vegetables. Marco’s bunches of kale were so large that I spotted them from almost a block away. There was no way anyone could miss this chou plume. I’m talking bigger than my head. A bunch actually had some weight.
After assessing the situation and taking some photos, he finally asked me and Emily if we were there just to take photos or to actually buy something.
We hopped in line behind the older ladies reusing the brown paper produce bags from their unattractive caddies and waited our turn to chat with Marco.
As usual, my stomach turned to knots as I kept repeating in my head what I wanted to say to Marco in French about The Kale Project. I always feel as if I’m bothering the farmers when I try to talk to them. Trust me, I will never blow a kiss to anyone ever again… Luckily, Emily had talked with Marco in-depth not that long ago about him being one of the few true local producers left in Paris, so I felt like I had her as my right-hand-woman.
When it was our turn, I shyly asked for the chou vert/kale. I’m not really sure what stumbled out of my mouth. I pointed my shaking hand, which was holding a printed copy of the French Le Huff Post article as further explanation the Project, towards the large bunches of curly green.
Marco raised his eyes towards me. “Tu le connais? Parce que les française ne connaissent pas le chou Hollandaise.” I smiled back at him as my nerves broke and nodded. Of course I know the French aren’t aware of kale. But let’s be honest… that is slowly changing!
And there you have it. Kale is on the Left Bank thanks to a few helpful tips. And I will make sure Monsieur Marco keeps growing it. This won’t be a fluke of just a few seeds from his Dutch farmer friend.
Check it out for yourself and buy his kale. The more we buy, the more he’ll grow.
After our kale pick-up, Emily and I headed to nearby café for a morning coffee in the rare Parisian sunshine. And we had our best bud, kale right next to us. Minus the crazy stares from those walking by and the dubious waiter, I think Paris suits la kale, non?
Marché Place Monge
*Producer is Marc Marscetti
Métro: Place Monge
*Producer is Marc Marscetti
This market stretches along the Val de Grace hospital on Boulevard du Port Royal.
Métro: Port-Royal or Raspail