I am on my own today so for lunch I made myself some fried tomatoes in olive oil, garlic and parsley with a couple of eggs on top.
Nothing fancy, you’d think? Well, wait a minute:
The tomatoes were juicy, sweet and fresh from the garden and so was the parsley. The garlic was from our earlier harvest this year. The eggs came from Camille, at the bottom of the village, where her hens roam free around her farmhouse after being saved from the butcher and a very short life in a cage.
The bread, I went to get it 1/2hour ago from Rene, 3kms away in Somplessac. He cooks it in an old fashion stone oven every Saturday and makes enough to sell around the village. It is delicious. With his bread I completed my lunch with some paneer I made yesterday from Amedee’s fresh cow’s milk….I made it with lemon and thyme, and it worked really well.( As not to waste anything, I made some pancakes with the whey and Camille’s eggs but I didn’t have any for my lunch.)
That was a very satisfying and gorgeous meal. Lucky me!
Yesterday I collected some peaches from the orchard and made some preserves with just a tablespoon of sugar for 1 ½ litre jar.
I brought in a bucket full of pears that will ripen indoors for the next few days. I will dry them then. The donkeys are enjoying the white figs, as much as me.
The dark Muscat grape is ready for the picking and oh!…..so delicious. The white Chasselat grapes has already been eaten over the last few weeks….These two types of grapes are the tastier grapes of all. They have peeps and not the first choice often for people because of these….but for me they are simply the best, with a flavour unsurpassed by any other. Those were also grown in my childhood and lots of memories associated with them. But that’s another story…
The donkeys are calling so let’s finish this.
I am writing about good and healthy food here because it is easy to grow and it doesn’t imply pesticides and fertilizers.
Our little farm has now been free of any chemicals since 2010. The grape vines did not produce anything last year. The grapes dried in situ just before the harvest. I didn’t know why but was absolutely keen to experiment.
This year I watered it a bit during the very hot spells and it seemed to have worked: we had/have loads of fruits. But could it be a coincidence? Last week I have mulched it with the ewes droppings and wasted hay…My dad never watered his vineyard or mulched it. It was growing on a very stony slope South facing, just like ours only some 40 kms away from here. But he sprayed it and sprayed it and sprayed it and he eventually died of cancer from it. Poor dad!
So no chemicals will be used here, and even though my mum told me 10 years ago that I won’t have any decent fruits if I don’t spray, well… that has not been true here: We’ve had so much good fruits year after year, unbelievable! Pears, cherries, almonds, plums, apricots….I have hundreds of peaches still to pick and dry, and more to give away. The walnuts are still green on the trees but not for much longer….
Some fruits have been attacked by insects but not all. This year, only the French apple trees have suffered and I am determined to find out how to get better results. Geoff’s two apple trees bought on eBay in the UK and planted when they were just under 3 feet tall, have been amazingly productive and good. They were sold as cox apples but they are not. F**k knows what they are but they are good.
One thing I have discovered is that is that insects lay their eggs at the time of the flowers in the spring, such that you may have a healthy looking fruit on the outside but on opening it, you dislodge the larvae that would eventually spoil the fruit for us.
Even more interestingly, the peach tree we grow here which is called “pêche de vigne”, is the ancestor of the modern peaches. Their fruits are ready around September time and the tree has retained the know-how about protecting its fruits from insects. Our peaches are perfect and grub free and delicious. The modern peach tree has lost its ability to defend its fruits and therefore requires pesticides…fascinating.
Below are a couple of links on youtube:
About Renee and his bread- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MekAdu6fobI
About Camille and her brother Felicien- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BC5zjHVu_o4