Provence grows more than half of France's  fruit and vegetables and is also the oldest wine producing region of the country, with a history going back some 2,500 years. Pastis is another local favorite, the drink being first commercialized by Paul Ricard in Marseille.
Provence – Fact Check

Provence's heart is tomato-shaped

Photo by John Burke

Provence – Fact Check Provence's heart is tomato-shaped

Over half of France’s fruits and vegetables come from Provence. Here’s why.

Tara Isabella Burton
Tara Isabella Burton Travel Writer

On Sunday morning in Pelissanne, a two-café hamlet near the city of Salon in France's Provence region, everybody goes to the market. Sellers with the hands of sailors and the voices of Sinatra sing ditties about their melons to passersby; women pass out free samples of cheeses on wooden slabs. Poulet rôti crackles on the spit; paella sizzles.

But the real start of the Provençal market is the tomato: the wildly bright, desperately sweet fruit – once known by locals as “pommes d’amour” for their aphrodisiacal effects – that, unlike almost anywhere else in the world, can be eaten like a pear or a peach: biting into the deep-hued flesh without recourse to oil or salt.

Throughout Provence, tomatoes form part of almost every regional dish: from fresh raw salads to lightly-roasted cherry tomatoes as a garnish to stuffed tomates farçies, stuffed with piquant sausage and garlic-infused breadcrumbs. So forget your cheeses, your moutards, your pastries. In Provence, the healthiest option is also the best.

Most Provence towns have a weekend market – usually Sundays – where the best fresh produce in the area can be found.

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