(Hope - and willing suspension of disbelief - whispering in my ear, telling me that just maybe Spanish strawberries, at this time of year, will indeed have some taste of strawberry to them: experience tugging at my sleeve to remind me of the last time I tried that. Whatever, cynical old experience is such a bore. Also, memory is short.)
Once again the CNRS (the French mad-boffinry department, strictly civilian and not to be confused with DARPA, which tends to see the bleeding edge as a blunt instrument and have cornered the market on white Persian cats, bijou in-volcano villains' lairs and sharks with head-mounted lasers) are doing their best to bring on the rise of Skynet, with the request for tender "No 43705 : "Achat d'une main robotique dextre". Slyly stocking up on the equipment our future cybernetic overlord will need, if only to push the button marked "Global Thermonuclear War".
Whether or not they had in fact been reared with love by some wise old peasant, living simply and in tune with the seasons, as his forefathers before him had done, I cannot say and in truth I rather doubt it: for one thing, such people are rare today, if only because of the difficulty of finding a mate in the wild. The EU, in belated recognition of this, has in fact started a program to have them located and, as a temporary measure, housed in zoos until a permanent solution can be found. (Had I mentioned that many zoos these days are under-funded, and that the tigers and such are on short rations? I think the solution may be there.)
That being said, I also picked up a bundle of wild asparagus on the same occasion. I was sad, for they were not what I had hoped for. Yeah, just the tips were fine - could've used them in an omelette to good effect, I suppose - but the rest was kind of like chewing barley grass stems. Unrewarding. I really ought to learn to be as picky about that sort of thing as I am with everything else at the market, and insist on prying into the bottom of the packet. Even if the hag behind the stall scowls at me. Hell, I prod aubergines.
Whatever, is not a problem. I have any number of food guides wherein the well-intentioned authors let you in on their secret of buying good fish (or meat, or whatever): "look for bright, unsunken eyes, a firm body, and a clean scent of the sea", they say. (Which, apart from the scent of iodine - which would be unsettling in beef as well - could perfectly hold true for the working girls plying their trade on the nationale going in to Narbonne.)
Basically, you follow the old bags. Unpleasant and stingy as they are, as a general rule they have some idea as to quality (maybe one of the last generations in France to do so) and will, reluctantly, pay for it. So if you are looking for decent fish - or meat, or whatever - check out the stalls with lines of old bags queue-jumping, and haggling, and generally being unpleasant.
Unless I can beat someone around the head with it, that is. Mind how you go, now.