There is nothing particularly unusual about this beautiful little strand of cherry tomatoes but I was confronted by whole display of them at a new produce store I was visiting and I couldn’t help myself, I bought half a kilo. I would catorgorize this as kitchen porn. Which brings up the larger question, how do specialty vegetable, meat, cheese and bakeries compete with supermarkets in Paris. The answer is presentation, quality, service and particularly beautiful or unusual items. In a supermarket these might be thrown into a bin, but at my produce store, they were carefully lined up and stacked to attract my attention. The green beans were presented in exactly the same way, a neat stack stretching 2-3 feet, a striking appearance as were the flat peaches (I should have taken a picture).
Everybody walks in the neighborhood here, no one drives to market (no parking). It is not unlike an open air shopping mall, except the anchors are the various little cafes where you have coffee (espresso) once or twice a day and three small supermarkets. As you go to market, you pass the bread store..beautiful aroma, the cheese shop…huge wheels of Brie, the butcher…mouthwatering cooked filet and the wonderful beauty of the fruit and vegetable store. As I picked my selections, half a kilo each of cherry tomatoes, striated beans and flat peaches, they were carefully lifted from their displays and placed in neat, little white bags, as if the owner was parting with little nuggets of gold. He nodded to me, as if to say, I approve of your selection. The cost was only 11 euros and it took 3 minutes. That is how they stay in business.