On Tuesday mornings you can meet Marie Christine at the farmers’ market of Thenon (Dordogne-Périgord) – you will find her standing behind a table covered in a purple cloth with white polka dots. Atop, wicker baskets overflow with her seasonal organic vegetables, while her faithful mountain shepherd dog sleeps underneath.
Marie Christine has been growing organic vegetables for over 35 years – she works year round and alone (save for her brother, who on his vintage tractor turns the soil to reveal the potatoes which will be harvested for the week). Despite the years of learning and experience, each season poses new challenges, due to weather, insects, cost of seeds, maintenance of material.
However, Marie Christine is not one to complain – perhaps it is because she has managed (chosen?) to keep her life simplified and lean; not necessarily in objection to how our world is changing, but conceivably due to her family and rural roots. She tells me that some of her clients suggest she raises her prices, yet her altruistic nature leans toward permitting individuals of modest means to buy her fresh produce.
Marie Christine is not a saint, she could raise prices and not many would notice the difference, but since she is content to live with a little more than she needs, then she is compelled to share with others. Marie Christine is an unsung hero, the salt of the Earth.