Time to take my watch off my wrist! Having written two consecutive posts on the Swiss watching industry, I thought it was time [What! Again? – No, dear reader, this was the last such reference to watches in this post, I promise!] to move on to another topic. Although I must admit that it was very tempting to write about this paper I read in the early hours of this morning on the different marketing approaches pursued by Swiss watchmakers as regards their use of so-called ambassadors – the author, who teaches at the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, made some very perceptive and funny points about this subject (I simply loved it when he compared the mega celebrity-based approach of one very famous Swiss brand to the hammering made by a pneumatic drill) –, so probably more on this extremely interesting paper in a future entry.

So for today’s entry at first I thought I would try to be a little daring and write about Snowden’s unofficial request for political asylum in Switzerland (which made the headlines here a couple of days ago), then I told myself that it would be better to go for something lighter and that, by the same token, it would keep me off the NSA’s radar for a few entries. 😉

Food, surely, would be a safer bet, no? That is, if one avoids the subject of GMO-based food, right? I can still remember this highly perspicacious (or should I say prescient?) history teacher of mine at Collège Rousseau in Geneva who would say to us (in French) ‘Tell me what you eat and I shall tell you who you are’ (in more concise English, I suppose one could phrase it differently, for instance ‘You are what you eat’).

On Saturday morning, I came across a ‘photo entry’ on Swissinfo.ch about fresh food markets in Switzerland, entitled ‘The colourful stalls at Swiss markets’. The entry, which has only 165 words without the captions, shows 15 ‘diptychs’ of photojournalistic shots taken at markets in Lucerne, Zurich and Carouge (Geneva). Unfortunately, there were no pictures of the market at La Riponne/place de la Palud, rue de l’Ale, which is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays here in Lausanne. What a pity because I would be tempted to say that it is better than its counterparts in Geneva or at Bürkliplatz in Zurich (I am a Geneva-born Swiss who has spent the last 13 years of his life in Lausanne and one who worked for almost two years in Zurich, not far from Bürkliplatz), but to be impartial I would have to admit that I have not visited the market in Carouge for a number of years now.

DSCN7795Anyhow such comparisons run counter to the spirit of ‘The colourful stalls at Swiss markets’ (published on the English section of the Swissinfo.ch portal), which is to celebrate the fresh food markets in Switzerland and entice people to go and see them. This is the most noble of causes because patrons of fresh food markets help support local producers – you would be surprised to find out how huge the price differential is between what the local farmers are forced to sell their produce to the two main retailers here in Switzerland and what the latter charge us for these very same produce; however, the prices quoted on the market stalls are pretty much equivalent to those seen in the supermarkets, the difference of course being that any profits this time go to the local farmers (which is a very good thing given that farmers are amongst the lowest paid professions in Switzerland – crazy, innit?).

Not only do patrons of fresh food markets help support local producers, but they help generate some social life in areas of town where otherwise people would merely walk through. Furthermore, patrons of fresh food markets help perpetuate the traditional ways of selling and buying food: outdoors, in contact with the producers and with the food not wrapped in cellophane (one never knows what kind of toxic chemicals hide in these wrappings). If there were no outdoor food markets selling local produce, our kids would have grown up without knowing this (i.e. that food is not necessarily what you buy in a supermarket in some nice packaging or cellophane wrapping). And this would be a sad loss, no? So if you live in Switzerland, why not go and visit your local fresh food market or become a member of an organic food door delivery service like Les Jardins de Cocagne in Geneva?


Organic food purchased at Lausanne’s market of La Riponne.

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