09 August 2012

The drive-by butcher

Walt blogged about our newest rural service yesterday — it's a local butcher who comes around in his market truck once a week, on Tuesdays. He honks his horn, and one of us goes out to buy something. Monsieur Céran is a boucher/charcutier, which means he sells beef, chicken, veal, lamb, and pork, including cured pork products like sausages, pâtés, ham... well everything. Local specialites and standard French items.

His truck is a refrigerated market vehicle. One side panel of the truck goes up kind of like a garage door, revealing a display counter full of tempting items. His prices are comparable to regular shop or supermarket prices. And the quality looks to be excellent. Everything we've bought so far has been really good.

Thésée-la-Romaine is a village across and down the river
from us, about 5 miles.

As Walt wrote yesterday, one of the big advantages of buying from an itinerant vendor is that you don't have to drive to his shop, of course, and you also don't have to wait in line while other customers are waited on. When we went to the Céran shop in Thésée a week or 10 days ago, we waited at least 15 minutes while others ordered large quantities of meats, some of which had to be cut and trimmed to order.

This is how it works in a culture where it isn't assumed that everybody owns and drives a car. The fact is, however, that nowadays, most people do drive — I wrote yesterday about the traffic jams in Saint-Aignan caused by high attendance at the Beauval zoo south of town, and Keir, our neighbor to the east, has confirmed it in a comment. I think we'll be buying things from Monsieur Céran every week to encourage him to keep coming by, just as we buy bread (good baguette tradition, it is too) every time the bread lady drives up and toots her horn.


  1. Yes, definitely use it or lose it. It is very useful to have that personal relationship with your butcher / baker / or in my case, dairy woman.

  2. The other week two guys drove up our lane selling cheap frozen meat off the back of their pickup. It amazed me that they'd drive so far off the beaten path for so few potential customers. It also amazed me that people would buy their stuff.

  3. These services really do sound charming in your location. It would be nice to not have to drive into town for every little thing.

  4. I wish we had a service like that here, we would certainly buy. Have a good day Diane

  5. You probably can order by phone in advance and get delivered when he comes around.

    He's got a legitimate business and he's not at all like the guys Carolyn is talking about.

    WV is osamig. It was scary beginning to spell the word!

  6. i think that is the best thing ever. i'm still fascinated by your bread lady.

    hey i'm picking some okra today! i know you've tried it in your garden. our hot and dry summer has been perfect for it. pickled okra is on the menu.

  7. Just another thing that's great about living in rural France. You guys really are "Living the Life."

  8. Judging by the photo of that côte à l'os on Walt's blog I would shop with Mr. Céran too. Buying something from him every week will certainly encourage him to come back! I hope his truck has a four wheel drive to make it up your hill in winter ;) Martine

  9. Oh, I just love those wrappers from the various food vendors :)))

  10. It's nice to haave your own private market!

  11. Ken

    Les vendanges ont commencé

  12. Hi B, no vendanges here yet, that's for sure. Down there on the Mediterranean near Perpignan, the climate is totally different from ours.

    OFG, good for you for having okra to harvest. I love it as you know. Wish I could try your pickled gombos.

    Everybody, thanks for the good comments.

  13. Your post reminded me of my childhood. In New York state (Poughkeepsie) in the early '60s, we used to have a butcher drive up in a truck similar to the one you describe.


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