Friday, June 3, 2011

Ferme Marais Girard

Two weeks on the farm have come and gone. Today is our last day and here is a recap of our stay (more or less).

The farm is located on the west coast of France just under Nantes and has been a wonderful place to call home for a short while. Bernard and Claudie live on and run the farm with their four kids in an old farm house five minutes from the ocean. The area is a mix of old farm land and new developments of beach property; somewhat of a shame, since most of the homes are owned by people who only stay here for one month out of the year.

It’s hard to judge what they grow here, with a lot of the land bundled up into hay piles. Our work has varied a bit, including picking wild poppies to make syrup, foraging for edible plants in the marsh for lunch and working in the warehouse where they make an impressive assortment of jams, preserves, syrups, vinegars and sauces.

But for the most part, we’ve been working with the strawberries. Weeding has become our specialty and although the work can be monotonous, there are some upsides. Growing with the strawberries are shallots and onions and we’re reminded of this by their delicious aromas while digging around and freeing up the nutrients of the land from the nasty weeds. I also found some mint growing, first aromatically and then visually. The other upside is, of course, the reward of eating the uber sweet, perfectly ripe berries.

For the last two weeks, this is what we’ve considered home. Cozy and comfortable, it’s been ours and we’ve enjoyed our stay. The best part: seeing the bright stars on our way back after dinner at the house.

Speaking of dinner, we’ve enjoyed not just the delicious food prepared by Claudie, but eating her delicious food in this specific farm’s location. Most of the time, we’ve eaten lunch outside with the warm breeze on our faces and a fuzzy cat scrounging around our feet.

We also just had a barbeque the other night and it was nice having the whole family together, eating around the fire. Here’s Bernard cooking some sausages at dusk, which, being so far north, was around 8:45.

With grilled bread and no plates, here’s Casey and the family enjoying our meal.

Another night, we prepared dinner and then took it to the beach to have a sunset dinner. It was a perfect early-evening dinner. Bernard even strolled along the rocks to find us some fresh oysters straight out of the sea.

Obviously, being so close to the ocean, and coming from the persistently brisk San Francisco, we’ve enjoyed many a day at the beach after our workday. It’s such a luxury to lie in the sun after lunch, and it only gets better as we roll away from the sun and into the night.

The tide fluctuates immensely here, with a few rocks sticking out in the day and probably 20 yards more of walkable land by sundown.

The oceanscape is beautiful here. There are these beautifully colored rocks, with kelp-covered ones further back towards the ocean, making a map of bright green seaweed and dark, black kelp with the deep turquoise water surrounding it all.

Like I said, it only gets better into evening.

Here’s Casey on the one day we were able to get to the beach after dinner in time for the sunset. Not to be disloyal, but the sunset here rivals that of Hawaii. It has, however, been a long time since I’ve seen a sunset in Hawaii and I'll be a better judge of it in a month or so!

We leave for Bretagne (Brittany) shortly and will enjoy four days of traveling around the north west of France before heading to Paris.

1 comment:

celia said...

Wow that sunset picture is stunning! I bet you will always remember Ferme Maraus Girard with their plants and your adventurous abode. Gosh, seems like the 2 weeks flew by. Love the pictures!