Touring the Capucin Market on a recent trip to France, I got excited by different things than what interested the native French shoppers.

The Marche des Capucins, nicknamed the Belly of Bordeaux, offers vegetables, flowers, meat, fish, baked goods, cheeses and local products.

The locals were excited because gariguettes, the earliest strawberry to show up in the market in France, were available. They weren’t as sweet and juicy as the Sparkles and other varieties available in Maine in June and July but definitely better than Florida and California strawberries that are red outside but white inside and provide only a hint of strawberry flavor.

Gariguette seeds and seedlings are not easily available in the United States market, and I am not sure they would survive in Maine.

What I was excited to see were the French breakfast radishes being sold at several stalls. They definitely can be grown in Maine. In fact, they should be planted now and every couple of weeks until late June, when it might be too warm, but starting again in late August until the end of the season.

Loosen the soil, which should be rich in compost, and plant the seeds about a half an inch deep. The textbook recommendation is to plant the seeds about an inch apart in rows, but I think that’s a waste of space. Instead, plant them in blocks up to 2 feet wide and give each seed a square inch of space.

In about two weeks, you’ll have lots of crisp, spicy vegetables.

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