In Périgord, we are known for our duck delights, such as foie gras, gizzards and duck breasts, but did you know that Perigord Strawberry is also one of our specialties ? It is a small red fruit, cultivated with know-how and love since the 50's. We love strawberries, which are synonymous with spring , when the Gariguettes arrive on the stalls, we rejoice! But the strawberry is also a fruit of summer and autumn thanks to the rising varieties , let me tell you all about Périgord Strawberry , an IGP to taste with gluttony!
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The strawberry as we know it, arrived in France in the nineteenth century . In the United States, crosses are made between very large strawberries and wild strawberry, to create hybrids easy to cultivate , full of taste and flavor . For the strawberry of yesteryear was not necessarily the most appetizing it is: it was small, stunted and not fleshy, because the red part, which is the one that is consumed, loaded with taste, is not the fruit ! The fruit is the seeds (achenes): the red part is only the fruit (or false fruit)! It was therefore necessary to cross to favor the fruit with the most advantageous flesh and flattering for the palate ... The Bretons report the strawberry of the new continent but it did not develop immediately as a culture. In the 50s , after the war, we see the strawberry land in Périgord on the market stalls. Why Périgord? Because it is a territory of rural and agricultural tradition and we have a beautiful flow of sands of the central massif which crosses the department at the level of Vergt and Cendrieux . A soft ground, combined with the acid soils generated by the wastelands , is a blessing for the strawberry!
Strawberry is also a specialty of Périgord
The strawberry is off the hook (because it's delicious!) And everyone starts to make some parcels. In the 60s, cattle farmers make it an ancillary activity and that is why Cendrieux (which was one of the largest dairy towns in France), has so many strawberry fields among its landscapes!
Tunnels of strawberries in Cendrieux
Yum ! Strawberries from Périgord are all delicious
I know what you think by looking at my photos: "Humhum, it's grown under greenhouse to stretch the production period " ... No, no, not at all! The tunnels are not heated , they are even open during the day, because the strawberry needs insects polinizers . The strawberry is grown under shelter because it hates water and splashing earth . It is a fragile fruit and the more it tastes, the more it fears moisture . Spring and autumn are tedious times for strawberry producers, who spend their time opening and closing tunnels depending on weather conditions . Strawberries are grown on mounds covered with a geotextile or a black tarpaulin that prevents stolons from multiplying and fruits to be in contact with the earth, which could damage them. We water sparingly, drip for the same reasons.
Hives in greenhouses: to encourage pollination
Geotextile or tarpaulins to prevent the strawberries from touching the ground, in place for 5 years, limit the loss .
The IGP Périgord has 8 varieties:
The Gariguette you know well, it is early and question taste, it is balanced, a little acid and sweet at the same time, fresh. It is a strawberry, but it is also appreciated by pastry chefs.
The Darselect which arrives at the same time as the Gariguette, is less known. Very good for jams or chew just like that, it is also a beautiful fruit that adorn pastries such as strawberry pies, with its big caliber.
The Donna is a pretty strawberry, which is bright and very red. She is sweet and appreciated!
Clery is a round strawberry, quite big and very good when it is ripe. It is found in the spring.
The Mara des bois is also a star, it is smaller, it often has seeds quite present in the mouth, but that do not alter its wild and very characteristic taste. It is fragile and naturally sweet. It is an easy-to-live strawberry that gives a lot and resists diseases, it is found until October and the first frost!
The Charlotte is a strawberry scented, a little musky, melting but not juicy. We like it just like that, for its wild strawberry side and its smell that embellishes the kitchen.
The Cérafine is elongated, it is crossed with Mara des bois, but more juicy and tart.
The Candiss: It gives big fruits that we recognize their cone shape, with many achenes (seeds on the red flesh). It is easy to cultivated and very aromatic.
So why do not we find a lot of strawberries in autumn ? From the spring, we are delighted to highlight them everywhere, but after the summer, the strawberry is more confidential, even if always present in the fields! In the autumn, in the supermarkets, we moved on. That's why it's at the market and at the producers you will find great strawberries in September and October.
The strawberry is always picked ripe , but not too much, it will continue to take on color during transport and at home, but its taste will not improve. That's why you have to harvest them in several passes, just when it is necessary and it is part of the know-how of the IGP Périgord Strawberry.
A demanding job for a fragile and delicate fruit, which is picked by hand and in several passes.
The strawberries are immediately packaged, then brought by crates to storage
Some numbers :
France produces 55,000 tonnes of strawberries a year.
About 20,000 tons are produced by Cooperatives, like SOCAVE, which received me for my report and produces 2,200 tons a year.
Strawberries under Perigord Strawberries represent 400 tons.
In Périgord , strawberry growing has become more professional since the 1960s. If it used to be an ancillary production for pastoralists and farmers, today it is a food activity (sometimes in combination with livestock farming). or cereals for crop rotation). On average, farms make 40 to 50 ha and produce 50 tonnes per hectare.
Strawberry is a perennial crop that stays in place for 5 years. In our garden, we can grow our strawberries longer, but growers have to change their feet every 5 years to make a rotation of culture (and thus enjoy a good soil) and also because the foot gives less with This is why there are often fallow areas near the strawberry tunnels, watch from the roads ...
Wasteland in front of strawberry fields
Storage at SOCAVE, the Coopérative des Fraises en Périgord
Trucks carry pallets
We all have a different recipe for strawberry pie . Mine is a bit special because my son is allergic to eggs. If you want to try a recipe that changes or you have no more eggs, here is my recipe!
For shortbread without eggs and casserole:
The dough is not long to do, when it is done in the pan: no dishes, no waiting.
125g of butter
100g of sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 small glass of water
250g of flour
A pastry cream that changes without eggs (yes, it's good!)
For pastry cream without eggs:
1 vanilla pod (or vanilla liquid, but it's not so good)
400ml of whole milk
50g of whole sugar
4 tablespoons cornflour or other starch
Smooth the surface of the cream, add the strawberries of your choice, cut or not (it's all about aesthetics). For a glossy finish, heat strawberry jam in a saucepan and brush on the surface. Enjoy your meal !
Yum it's over
Strawberries are also tasted just like that, with the "sugar croque" with the family!
The very large Strawberry Festival strawberry pie in Vergt each spring