France’s First Farm Food Drive-In is in Bordeaux

You can drive-in for MacDo or Quick fast food around France, so why not a drive-in farm? Well canny Bordeaux consumers can now do just that and drive-off each week with real food, freshly-picked and direct-from-the-field.

Will drive-in farms catch on as consumers worry about where their food really comes from?

(Meanwhile keep reading for more below on how a Toulouse start-up is promoting France’s first macarons and chocolate made from crunched cricket flour!)

France’s first “drive-fermier” — backed by the local Chamber of Agriculture and twenty Bordeaux producers — opened recently at 80 rue du Breteil 33320 Eysines. It aims to promote locally grown food with full traceability and a short supply chain to consumers keen to know what they see is what they get when it comes to la table.

Lovers of local produce find what’s on offer each Tuesday, make their selections, pay online and arrange a time to pickup from the drive-in. The farmers in the scheme fulfil the orders and deliver to the drop off and pickup point on a Friday afternoon (SICA Maraichère Bordelaise at Eysines).

The drive-in farm offers local products — fruit, vegetables, meat poultry, oysters, wine, honey, saffron and herbs among others  —  all sourced from a short supply chain with clear identification of the supplier and farming methods used, a “marketplace for quality products at prices attractive for consumers and profitable for the farmer” says the website, which attracted some  1,800 subscribers and 300 orders in the first  three weeks after it launched.

Canny customers in Bordeaux can now access a drive-in farm for fresh boxed vegetables straight from the field

The farmer’s website says “we are committed to a formula that helps cut overall travel for farmers and consumers. The farmers individually undertake to deliver products only from their farms and to sell at the prices that are direct from the farmer. This is a new form of fair and friendly marketing that benefits producer and consumer.” The scheme has a Facebook page here. The farmers opened a second collection point at Lormont and plan a third south of Bordeaux at the end of March 2013. According to France Bleu farmers’ associations around France are moving to introduce similar schemes, now that the pilot has clearly fired up Bordeaux residents.

The drive-in farm brings together 21 producers and 3 groups of producers: small farmsteads, conventional agriculture and organic farmers. The scheme’s principle commitment is that all products offered are locally grown or raised. All individual farmers and agricultural groupings involved are from the Gironde.

Individual farmers:

– Jean Paul and Florence ALOIRD, winemakers at Lesparre-Médoc

– Bernard and Antoine ARTIGUE, winemakers at Loupes

– Thierry BURNEREAU, grower and winemaker at St. Jean de Blaignac

– Bernard CHASTEL, Organic grower Vayres

– Nicolas CHASTEL, Organic vegetables Vayres

– Denis CHAUSSIE, winemaker at Saint Germain de Grave

– Noémie ATTIC, duck breeder  and cattle farmer  at Rimons

– Nathalie Hubert DARON, winemakers at Camblanes-and-Meynac

– DIMA Benedict, organic herb grower at Landiras

– Claire DUBOURG, dairy cattle and dairy products at Pessac

– Maryse Bertrand and HAZERA, poultry farmers at Camarsac

– Bernard LAFON, organic fruit and vegetable farmer at Sadirac

– Jean-Michel LAPLAGNE, snails producer at Isle Saint-Georges

– Jean-Louis MANZINELLO, Organic Vegetables at Saint-André de Cubzac

– Chantal and Jean-Noël Pelette, producers of Safran at Ambarès-et-Lagrave

– Dominique PELLET beekeeper at Saint Sève

– Marlene SERRANO, goat breeder and goats cheese producer at Courpiac

– William YON, winemaker at Mauriac

– Pascal LAVERGNE, beef cattle breeder at Sainte-Gemme

– Sylvie LATRILLE, oyster farmer at Piraillan- Cap-Ferret

– Annie DREILLARD, sheep breeder and cheese maker at Daignac

Agricultural groups:

– SICA Maraîchère Bordeaux at Bordeaux

– Cooperative PALMAGRI, ducks and foie gras at Auros

– The Association of Girondins Breeders , Gironde sur Dropt

A happy  group of Gironde drive-in farmers

Meanwhile its time to start learning to love insects, bugs, garden pests and similar creepy crawlies for so long the target of pesticide and aerosol manufacturers. Put away those sprays and poisons because bugs are increasingly entering the food chain propelled by innovative French firms seeking first mover advantage in the new world of entomophagans, a development French News Online reported on earlier.

In Toulouse Cédric Auriol, manager and founder of Micronutris at Saint-Orens is raising “eco-friendly, high-quality, organically-fed insects” on the basis that alternatives will be needed once looming global food shortages arrive.  Currently he supplies insect-based flour to French makers of macarons, chocolates and protein bars. He says the criquets and grillons used are rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals and low in fat. Farming them, he adds, has far less environmental impact than does farming beef he says —  10 kilos of pasture will produce nine kilos of insects against just one kilo of beef. At the Salon de l’innovation Midinnov 2013 in Toulouse in early February the firm won a innovation award after presenting a range of chocolates and macarons made by a Tarn-based artisan chocolatier using insect flour.

Here Cédric Auriol is interviewed for the C’est Notre Affaire programme on: “What are we going to eat tomorrow?”:

Micronutris produces and sells insects raised in France and fed on organically farmed food More info.  Micronutris products can be found here.

Micronutris is not alone, in Morbihan in Brittany you can buy lollipops that are prepared with crunchy crickets.  Alexis Chambo, 35, a Morbihan innovator says that insects are “the solution to beat junk food and world hunger”. He told Quest-France newspaper that in France, until the Middle Ages, “it was common to cultivate and eat beetles and crickets for food”. In his view it won’t be long before restaurant menus feature crickets, “prepared with la fleur de sel de Guérande sea salt”, mealworms that taste of pizza or curry and crickets offering a texmex taste.

Watch how he makes the suckers in this video:

Story: Ken Pottinger

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