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So did we enjoy the locavore experiment?

It has been really interesting. Ha, that nearly sounds what you would say about a gift you received but are not quite sure of. I guess it is just about the right description. It has been really interesting.

We have been trying for a while now to go more and more local and we have made steps in that direction; we raise our own pigs, ducks and chickens, our veggie garden is finally of a nice size and produces a good amount of vegetables, we have a producing orchard, this experiment did bring us more awareness in to a.o. the following:

·    It gives slow food a different meaning. Not so much to cook your food slowly, but that there is so much more long term preparation involved. I mean, it takes time to make your own bouillon cubes. There is much more seasonal work involved in drying your herbs and making your own mixes, preserving your veg and gosh, I don’t know what you would do without a freezer.
·    We also ran to the shop and bought tons more preserving jars. Jam is not necessary the way to go. We want to have the best sugar possible, and this is of course coming from some tropical destination. So preserving is the way to go and with as much variety as possible. No pizza without tomato sauce, cool salsa’s from tomatillo’s which grew newly in our garden this year, still kilos of apples to peel for apple sauce…
·    We better start liking some of those winter veg and find out other recipes so that all those root vegetables finally get somewhat of an appeal to us. So far they haven’t really done that yet. Send us some recipes!
·    We soooooo missed spices and food without pepper is difficult to get used to. Then face it as well, it is tough to ask an Asian to abandon his rice and spices, but also for me as a whity who really appreciates Asian cuisine, going without spices really bored me. It was a big revelation to notice that I missed spices more than sweets and chocolate, because they were easily replaced by bread and honey.
·    The thing we didn’t enjoy so much about being locavore is that we hardly eat and drink any dairy products and enjoy eating gluten moderately in our daily lives. Santi is lactose intolerant and my system is not too fond of it either, unless it is in small proportions. This week no rice milk, no soya crème and no rice or other far away grains. So it was changing between pasta, potatoes (not my favourite)  and rice and a lot more bread, plus we compensated with dairy products (more cheese, more butter and crème instead of the far away alternatives. Even though the milk products were just fab coming from Mme Morabito’s grass fed cows and lovely organic home made bread from M Chateliers flour, our bodies seem to enjoy better with less in those directions.

We celebrated our first non locavore day with a lovely Thai curry, of course with a farmer’s chicken and veg from the garden, but with coconut, spices and the lovely basmati rice grains. All in all a great experiment which we were also happy to leave behind again (let’s be honest), but it brought us to researching alternatives that we can grow here for i.e. pepper and ginger, but also to start expanding even more on different varieties of veg and herbs and fruits in the garden. And yahoo, we found out we can grow shiitakes in our backyard, the spawn is on its way as we speak, now let’s see if we can find some alternatives for coconut and mangos.

Including the garden into our property

We first arrived on this property at the end of 2007 and there were only the 2 houses and the wooden barn. With only 6 months to build and get everything ready for our first tourist season, there was plenty for us to do. It has then taken us the following 3 years to find our way and our balance with very little time, space and energy to focus on the land.  For the longest time our wish was to replant a forest and bring more life back into the empty 4Ha field.

Watching a lot of documentaries during our spare time and in the low season, especially about nature, farming and food, it was only with shock, disgust and discouragement that we’ve discovered the greed, cruelty and sometimes madness pushing the food industry. Our first reaction was to stop consuming “bad” food and produce but as the list was getting longer and longer, we’ve both felt the need to act instead of just react and finally decided to dedicate more time, energy and most of our yearly savings to grow and produce our own food. While looking around and searching, we’ve dived into organic gardening and Permaculture as source of inspiration. After completing a PDC (Permaculture Design Course), we came up with tons of cool little projects and experiments that we have built throughout our land as well as a design for the coming 2, 5 and 10 years in order to turn the 4Ha field into a self-sufficient food forest. We never expected the amount of energy, fun and inspiration it has given us. We are happy to share this with you.
Sandra & Santi

Simply Bed & Breakfast, St. Jean de Duras, South West France

Glamping | Holiday Home | B&B

Lovely (glamping) holiday or B&B stay in the country side on the border of the Lot et Garonne and Dordogne departments, near Bergerac, in the Aquitaine region of South West France. Six safari tents with their own bathroom, two b&b cottages and a large holiday home all with swimming pool, set in 5 hectares of country side with stunning views.

Sandra & Santi: Bonac, 47120, Saint Jean de Duras
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