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Gourmet production in the Loire Valley

From the ground to the plate

Nicknamed the "Garden of France", the Loire Valley is renowned for its market gardening

Asparagus is a masterpiece product of the Loire Valley. © OTBC

The Garden of France

The happy combination of a mild, temperate climate and sandy soil, rich in silt, has made the Loire Valley the "Garden of France". Almost all fruits and vegetables grow in this favourite region: leeks, onions, courgettes, celery, salads, cauliflower, mushrooms, strawberries, apples, pears, melons... and the queen of the area, asparagus, Chambord green or Sologne white.

The latter has made the region's vegetable reputation. Now grown on nearly 200 hectares, it is one of the most excellent products of the Loire tables. At Assa, one of the best restaurant in Blois, it is just served roasted. "Its light nutty taste goes well with white meats, fish or even snails," says Chef Anthony Maubert with a smile.

 

Asparagus, strawberries, blackcurrants or saffron are produced in the Loire Valley

The region defends its market gardening reputation with enthusiasm. A century and a half ago, Parisians were already enjoying Sologne strawberries. In the department alone, more than 3000 tonnes are now grown. The Mara des bois, whose only evocation makes you drool, is the most gourmet ambassador.

The Loire Valley is also the leading producing region of the blackcurrant (5000 tonnes), far ahead of Bourgogne (2000 tonnes). Less known to the general public, the cultivation of saffron and yams, tubers of which the Loir-et-Cher is the only producing department in France, are also among the flagship products of the Loire region.

Direct sales are becoming more and more important

As elsewhere in France, short circuit marketing is experiencing significant growth. Today in the region, it is estimated that 30% of vegetable farms in the region sell directly at the farm or on markets via AMAPs, national or local organizations (Bienvenue à la ferme, La Ruche qui dit oui).