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1854 - The cucumber riot

cucumber 3277475 1280In 1854, at the height of the cholera epidemic which had a devastating effect on Colmar, the authorities, scared stiff by the deplorable hygiene conditions in certain districts and the subsequent risks of contagion, decided to turn their attention to the food the inhabitants of Colmar were eating.

One of the victims of the new measures was the cucumber. This hardly went down well with the market-gardeners who grew the stuff. Among them were three sisters, "filthy, ugly old maids", who first verbally, and then physically, assaulted the sergeant of the city who had come on an unannounced visit to the market. The sergeant and his escort were bombarded with cucumbers, marrows, turnips and Jerusalem artichokes by the three furies, who were rapidly joined by their fellow market-gardeners. It needed the intervention of the police and the army before order could be restored. For Mayor Chappuis, who had already been through the firewood riots, this was one more he could sorely have done without.