I See London, I See France, I See Lots of Veggies and Plants!

Our fearless leaders, Jeremy and Amanda, recently traveled to Europe on a mission to better understand vegetable varieties and seasonal eating. They wound up in France, England, Italy, Spain, and Portugal and had the time of their lives going to outdoor produce markets and experiencing European views on veggies. Here's what they saw:

1. Vegetables tend to be sold as they are with roots and leaves attached.

Vendor @ MERCADO DO BOLHÃO - Porto, Portugal

Vendor @ MERCADO DO BOLHÃO - Porto, Portugal

2. Popular fruits and vegetables are not necessarily the same ones we see in the United States. Traveling is a fun opportunity to try foods and preparations that are new and different, like this Oca du Perou!

Vendor @ Marche Des Enfants Rouge - Paris, France

Vendor @ Marche Des Enfants Rouge - Paris, France

3. Location is everything in terms of fresh, seasonal produce. Seafood is popular in Lisbon, Portugal because of it's physical proximity to the ocean. Right now the markets in Porto, Portugal are full of dark leafy greens that make for tasty soups and stews. Here is one recipe you can try now!

VENDOR @ MERCADO DO BOLHÃO - PORTO, PORTUGAL

VENDOR @ MERCADO DO BOLHÃO - PORTO, PORTUGAL

4. Access to fresh produce is much greater overall. In addition to supermarkets, there were a greater number of year-round markets for fresh meat, seafood and veggies. Each neighborhood tended to have a permanent market, comparable to our farmer's markets, in addition to a greater number of specialty shops providing bread, meat, cheese or farm-fresh produce and eggs.

Vendor @ Marche Saint Quentin - Paris, France

Vendor @ Marche Saint Quentin - Paris, France

5. Non-seasonal items were available, but made up only a small part of what was available. The emphasis on seasonality was much more evident in European markets.

Campo De' Fiori Plaza Market - Rome, Italy

Campo De' Fiori Plaza Market - Rome, Italy

The markets Jeremy and Amanda visited were filled with darker and more vibrant seasonal veggies.

Cabbages & Broccoli @ Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria

Cabbages & Broccoli @ Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria

Greens & Artichokes @ Campo De' Fiori market

Greens & Artichokes @ Campo De' Fiori market

Purple Artichoke @ Marche Des Enfants Rouge

Purple Artichoke @ Marche Des Enfants Rouge

Leeks @ Barcelona Street Market

Leeks @ Barcelona Street Market

6. Restaurant menus were very focused on seasonal produce. Each restaurant they visited had a seasonal special or an entirely seasonal menu. 

Baby Squid & leeks - El Quim - Barcelona, Spain

Baby Squid & leeks - El Quim - Barcelona, Spain

Bonus of traveling in the winter: Delicious eating!

Salmon & Avocado Toast @ Auto Rosselon, Barcelona

Salmon & Avocado Toast @ Auto Rosselon, Barcelona

Broccoli Romanesco Pasta @ Roscioli, Rome

Broccoli Romanesco Pasta @ Roscioli, Rome

Sauteed Leeks & Roasted Chicken @ Cafe Balzac, Paris

Sauteed Leeks & Roasted Chicken @ Cafe Balzac, Paris

Ham, Pan Tomate & Shrimp Carpaccio @ Bar Mut, Barcelona

Ham, Pan Tomate & Shrimp Carpaccio @ Bar Mut, Barcelona

In our ongoing quest to perfect vegetable gardening, traveling will always be an incredible resource for information and inspiration.

Eat Well, Garden Often. (and travel as much as possible!)