Gard : the apple of the Cevennes change of skin

Gard : the apple of the Cevennes change of skin


At the heart of the Cevennes of Southern france, the apple Reinette du Vigan has always enjoyed an excellent reputation. It has shaped this land for king Louis XIV, as the silk worm, the chestnut, the sweet onion. Today, apple Reinette du Vigan has lost a lot of its excellent reputation. To such a point that it would only remain a single orchard of the altitude of Mandagout, on the lands of the family Campredon.

Philippe Drink replanted with new varieties on an orchard of 1.5 hectares.


This Sunday, the Fair of Vigan

The Xxiv Fair of the apple and the sweet onion of Vigan, proposed by the community of communes of the Country Viganais, takes place this Sunday, October 22, all day.Nearly 90 producers and artisans to invest the city centre, of which 79% are stamped “Gard, militant du goût”.The pyramid of apples and sweet onions is the symbol of a fair that will be hosted this year by a puppet of 4m of top, the waders of the company Pupae, accompanied by the fanfare Marvelous Swing.The edition 2017 will be sponsored by the chief of gourmet Julien Lavandet, a member of the Network gard to the chefs, and chef of the restaurant La Table 2 Julien in Montaren-et-Saint-Médiers.

The co-operative Origin Cévennes, a partner and major player in the fair Vigan, has the exclusive right to sell sweet onions Cévennes AOP and the apple Reinette du Vigan. Visitors will also be able to sample other regional productions such as the bull of the Camargue, the olives, the oysters of Bouzigues, the pélardon, chestnuts, mushrooms, walnuts, etc.

In the Cevennes, the growers have, therefore, been constrained and forced to change their tune. Installed in Sumène, Philippe Boisson, the son of breeders of sheep, can testify to that. With his wife Helen, he has taken over a part of the exploitation of his parents in 2011. He cultivates two hectares of sweet onion and an orchard of three acres on a parcel of the bottom of the valley. “Lo, these three years, I started to cut my Reinettes du Vigan. I made myself very poorly. But it should be obvious, the variety is not adapted to the warming climate. They bake on the trees,” says Philippe Boisson.

“Only Trump doesn’t find out”

If he does not take to the science that he is not, he observes throughout the year. With a great wisdom. Simply. “Our office is outside, and we should note well that the temperature is higher. Only Trump doesn’t find out. It is enough, however, to look around us. I’ve never seen the land cévenoles also dry”, he says.

Philippe Boisson has therefore taken account of this phenomenon at the time of the replanting of new varieties, with the aim of producing organic apples : “I am in conversion for two years. That is to say, that I will do my first harvest bio in 2018. I’m sure I will be in the true. I pay attention to what I do and I will never process it for fun. I am just passing through. I think that operation needs to be transmitted. I would like to see a fifth generation succeeding me, to my land of Sumène.”

The choice of varieties adapted to organic

In 2015 and in 2016, he has drawn his new orchard of 1.5 ha around the varieties Crimson Cripps, Dalinette, Opal and gold rush : “I still have 0.5 hectare of Reinette du Vigan. I have not yet taken a decision on these trees. In 2018, I will continue to plant the four varieties on a hectare of land. They are suited to organic culture.”

Philippe Boisson is certain that this choice will pay off in the future : “This way of producing, which prohibits the use of synthetic products, demand more presence, more surveillance. It is perfectly suited to our types of operations, in our climates. I am certain that the large farms are much more difficult to follow of hectares of orchards. It is necessary that we played over there.”

Philippe Boisson has therefore decided to invest on their native lands. He knows that it will not gather the fruits of her efforts that in five or six years : “I’m working on the long-term. I continue to do the apple because I believe that the diversification of our farms is important in the Cevennes,” says the farmer. This year, between the freeze of the spring, the heat of these last few months (he was able to water thanks to a pool of storage) and the youth of the trees, he knows that he will not be a collection record. He has learned patience.

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The ambition of producing 250 tonnes

The co-operative Origin of the Cevennes and its packing station, installed at Saint-André de Majencoules, manage the intake of five growers. “I bring all my production to the cooperative. We are far from the regular trade channels. And then, this is not my profession. Me, I’m a farmer. It is a word that I love,” says Philippe Boisson.

President of Original Cevennes, Damien Dussault shows ambitious : We encourage producers to plant orchards because we want to develop the production of organic apples. Our goal is to reach 250 tons.” In 2016, the production level is high at 135 tons. 2017 is not expected to be a great year because of the weather conditions.

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