The Loire in June – and Cauliflowers.

A Loire Valley Vegatable garden.

Me – Cauliflowers, Lettuce and Artichokes in early June. I’ve been trying to produce decent cauliflowers for some years – about 30 to be precise. This year I decided to treat them with the same care that you would normally lavish on aged relatives. I never let them wilt in the heat and I fed them once a week. Not that you only feed aged relatives once a week!  That seems to do the trick thus I think that the secret of growing good cauliflowers is to never, never allow their growth to be checked.

We love our part of the Loire and, to may French people, it is known as ‘Le Jardin de France’ (the Garden of France), and much of France’s vegetable gardens, orchards, mushroom farms, roses and horticultural producers are situated in this rich and fertile region.  June has always been a favourite time of the year for us.  Generally hot, sunny days while the whole region is still vibrant green with ripening wheat fields adding splashes of gold scattered with red poppies.  The sunken lanes and tracks which meander through hidden stone hamlets  are decorated with a profusion of wild flowers.  The vines have flowered and you can see the start of what will be this years bunches of grapes, whilst the vineyards themselves form bright green geometrical patterns over the slopes.  And, floating above the countryside, are the calls of Cuckoos, Hoopoes, Blackbirds and Skylarks and a host of other orchestral members.

Our vegetable garden, like all the others in Le Puy Notre Dame, are starting to yield their produce.  I have already harvested the first potatoes of the year, the old French variety “Belle de Fontenay”, dating back to the 1880’s.  This variety is consistently chosen in trials to have the best taste and is resistant to mildew, at least in our climate.  But my great success this year has been cauliflowers, an F1 variety called “Boris”, huge perfect white florets giving me bragging rights amongst the village, vegetable growing community, even my close friend and veggy competitor Robert has been surprised and has stopped banging on about his cauliflowers as he does most years!  The next round will be tomatoes.   To be fair there have been some problems this Spring caused by the early, unusual amount of rain, (in one night we had six weeks of average rainfall) and which  has led to a profusion of snails which have caused huge setback for the basil plants and for lettuce and roquette although the hot sunshine has now resolved that problem and our guests are now enjoying eating the profusion of salad from the garden.

Here are some other shots of the garden and courtyard:-

 

Roasted Cauliflower with curry and cumin

Roasted cauliflower with curry and cumin

 

Sheila’s take on our ‘guest recipe’  for roasted cauliflower which we sampled last year with Denise and Rod from Eugene, Oregan, USA.

It’s so simple, florets of cauliflower roasted in the oven with olive oil and sprinkled with curry and cumin, just delicious! Shown here with some roasted spuds mixed in too and rosemary au jardin.

Bon appetit et bon jardinage!

Brian

Gites in the Loire Valley

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2 thoughts on “The Loire in June – and Cauliflowers.

  1. Looking forward to savouring the delights of a wonderfully relaxing time in rural France and your great company and frienshio.
    Each and every time we read your Blog, it makes us yearn to be back at Le Clos des Guyons- and soon we shall be.

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  2. Thanks very much for your vote of confidence Keith and Sheila and I are looking forward very much to seeing you and Rita again this year and it goes without saying the enjoyment of the Grand Prix Retro Fete!! Can’t believe how fast each year zooms by!!! See you soon!!!!

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