Fall is here, and with that the harvest. There is no good reason that Paris dwellers need forego the delights of eating the bountiful produce found within easy reach of the city of lights. Wanting to remain local and support the neighboring economy and help reduce the negative impact on our planet of carting in food from faraway lands, I set off to find fresh produce locally grown and home delivered. A friend of mine introduced me to Le Haut du Panier and I decided to find out what it was all about.Their website was simple, pretty, and easy to understand (only in French unfortunately). As I browsed the pages I wanted to try it all, but decided to start small and simple. From the comfort of my living room, I ordered the panier decouverte de legumes – the vegetable discovery basket – at a painful 38€. It was Wednesday evening at 21h, and I hurried to get my order in before the 22h deadline for a Friday delivery. Allowed to choose my delivery time on Friday I opted for the 7-8 am slot in hopes of not being held prisoner in my own home. The courier arrived at a bit after 8 with mille excuses and a large smile saying traffic was bad. For Paris, a delivery that is only a few minutes late is great!
My veggies were in a huge cardboard box, which I excitedly opened, breathing in deeply the fabulous earthy smells that met me along with the veggies.
Here is what was included:
* 1 huge bunch of basil
* 3 red peppers
* 2 huge salads
* 1 bunch of turnips
* 1 bunch of carrots
* 1 bunch of red radishes
* a handful of funky green and orange tomatoes
* a handful of potatoes
* 1 bunch of swiss chard
* 2 big leeks
The colors were lovely and the taste fresh and yummy. Although this was a one person basket, there were enough veggies in there for multiple meals. Other options include the couple basket (48€) and the family basket (58€).
The vegetables delivered are seasonal and grown on a plot of 22 hectares (55 acres) in Carrières-sur-Seine, a town just 7 kilometers west of Paris. While not certified organic, Joel Thiebault, the grower, measures pollution levels (apparently low) and works his land respecting the rhythm of the plants’ growth cycles. Many high quality and extremely well known Parisian restaurants cook with his produce.
With a little further research I found that Joel also works with another company that offers the same product, for a LOT less money (prices start at 14€). The catch: you need to go and pick up your veggies yourself. Luckily, the list of pick-up points is long, and there should be one within easy walking distance from most parts of the city.
Joel Thiebaut can also be found at the fruit and vegetable market on avenue du President Wilson (metro Alma – Line 9 or Boissière – Line 6) every Wednesday and Saturday morning. His family has worked this market since 1873 and he has personally worked there since 1976.
If you are a Haven in Paris client and would like to place an order but the French website is scaring you off, don’t hesitate to ask your greeter when you arrive in the flat; they will be happy to help. There is also a local phone number and an email. They are lovely, and there is a good chance English will be understood.
01 44 24 05 77
Otherwise, if need be, brush up on your French, use a translation site, or find a French speaking friend! It’s worth it.
Le Haut du Panier also delivers fruit, cheese, bread, meat, and truffles (in season) using only high quality providers for these edibles as well. When you sign up for delivery you automatically receive their newsletter that comes from time to time with enticing recipes and info on new products.