Behind the large oak trees are olive trees at the Bastide. Frotunately decorative!

Behind the large oak trees are olive trees at the Bastide. Frotunately decorative!

French olive growers are expecting the 2016 harvest to be a disappointment as a severe drought has hit the country during the summer months.

The World Meteorological Organization has expressed concerns in a recent report that 2016 will “very likely” be the hottest year on record as the average temperature is 1.2℃ degrees above pre-industrial levels, and France has obviously not been spared by the phenomenon. Scientists have stated that the impacts of climate change would come sooner and harder and the French olive growers have been at the receiving end of a pretty rough year in terms of drought.
The olive harvest has just started in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (often abbreviated as PACA), France’s most important olive production territory. Rodolphe Serratiozo, an olive grower from Aix-en-Provence expressed concerns over what is beginning to look more and more like a poor harvest.

“Look at this tree,” he said to a TF1 TV reporter while pointing at one of his olive trees, “Usually we are able to harvest around 15 kilograms of olives out of it. Now? I’d be happy if I can get 2 kilograms of olives out of it. I can’t say right now how much olive oil I’ll be able to produce this year but I’m expecting to produce one-third of the usual,” he added.

Rodolphe Serratiozo is not the only olive grower who have been hit hard by the recent drought. Laurent Rossi, olive production supervisor and owner of a mill in Mouriès (a city also located in the PACA region), is also dealing with the aftermath of the drought. When asked by 20minutes.fr about how the current harvest was going he sighed, paused, and answered: “Terrible.”

So what could French olive growers have done in order to prevent the drought from affecting their harvest that much? Installing irrigation systems would have sounded like a logical answer but unfortunately for the growers those systems are still expensive. Most French olive growers are already struggling to make ends meet.

This year’s mediocre harvest is terrible news for olive growers, who were just recovering from a terrible 2014 harvest when the olive fly had hit the French olive trees, causing severe damage. 2014 was the worst year in terms of olive harvest on French soil since the famously disastrous 1956 harvest season.

This year’s poor harvest generates tough financial challenges for French olive growers as the repercussion is twofold; on one hand, they will very likely earn less money out of their harvest and on the other hand they are being put in a tough spot regarding their loan reimbursing capacity.

French consumers have also expressed concerns about the situation.

Simple economics suggests that olive oil prices are expected to rise given that the supply has dropped significantly from last year. As France’s unemployment rate has risen to near-historic levels in the past few years here’s little doubt French consumers will be very aware of olive oil prices as the product is already comparatively expensive to other cooking oils.

Moreover, many French consumers have been wondering if the quality of olive oil would be affected as well. It is important to note that a decrease in quantity does not necessarily equate to a decrease in quality, thus the caliber of French olive oils should not be a concern.

France produces on average around 5,000 tons of olive oil annually, accounting for 0.2 percent of the world supply. Olive growing, as well as olive oil production in France, is concentrated in thirteen counties, all located in the PACA region.

News Source: oliveoiltimes.com

 

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The local.fr reports as follows:

We already know the French take their Baguettiquette seriously – but this is a new extreme.

The Le Darz bakery in western France’s Finistère has quite literally taken baguettes in a new direction by turning the dough into a neat U shape before putting it in the oven.  The reason: So people can carry them more easily home if they’re taking a bike or scooter.

“It’s the Biker’s Baguette,” the bakers wrote in a viral Facebook post.  “No need to break it in half, it’s already folded in two before it’s baked.”

And as anyone who has ever transported a loaf of the crusty bread can attest – this could just be a genius idea in space-saving and crumb-reducing. The concept took the internet by storm on Tuesday, with thousands of Facebook users sharing the pictures and the story getting picked up on news channels across France.

“We made it as a nod to all the bikers, but also to amuse ourselves too. We’re ecstatic that you like it.” The bakers wrote that they only charge an extra five centimes for the baguette. “Imagine folding 100 baguettes – it takes time you know,” they explained.

Now to find out if they do deliveries to elsewhere in France…

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The centre fountain at the entrance to the Chateau alsways has some novel items for sale.

 

For over 30 years, Edith Mezard and her team have been doingthe finest hand embroidery of traditional linens and fabrics. Forgot mass-produced, these are the real handiwork and every piece is unique.

Edith works from her home – a 17th Century Chateau (Chateau des Ange) situated in the tiny hamlet of Lumieres between Coustellet and Apt in the Luberon Valley. The chateau has a colourful history – during world War 2, it was a German officers’ mess.

Each year, Edith branches out from her embroidery and sells Christmassy items, unique and carefully chosen. Those in the know, shop early!

For more information, click here.

 

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Near Lumieres in the Luberon.

Near Lumieres in the Luberon.

Spectacular, is the only word to describe the autumn colours this year.

In the foreground, cherry trees turn golden hues. The same trees that delight us every May with their blossoms.

In the foreground, cherry trees turn golden hues. The same trees that delight us every May with their blossoms.

Almost like a model train village.

Almost like a model train village.

Provence is under water. Nearly 75mm of rain in 36 hours has seen rivers rise, houses flooded, farmlands a lake, and many joyour smiles  after such a dry summer.

The Calavon river near Lumeires in the Luberon Valleyis in full flood - destination the Durance river; destination the Rhone river.

The Calavon river near Lumieres in the Luberon Valleyis in full flood – destination the Durance river; destination the Rhone river.

 

Another view of the Calvin

Another view of the Calavon.

 

The low pying areas of Apt were evacuated at 04h00 on Tuesday 22nd November. Note the cars in the background - they survived; some others didn't!

The low lying areas of Apt were evacuated at 04h00 on Tuesday 22nd November. Note the cars in the background – they survived; some others didn’t!

 

Apt.

Apt.

Thanks to Mike Timperley for the Apt photos.

 

 

Work continues apace.

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One of the challenges of living in a French medieval vilage is that houses are built very close to each other, and often light is a problem. These new Ménerbes residents found the solution to light during their renovation – they bought the house next door and knocked it down!

Here it is..

Te residence is on the left hand side - this 'was' a house!

The residence is on the left hand side – this ‘was’ a house!

 

Lovely new Juliet balcony

Lovely new Juliet balcony

Looking up the road, you cannot see the new gap.

Looking up the road, you cannot see the new gap.

 

The morning after the night before. There was a big wedding in Ménerbes over this past weekend - the debris remains.

The morning after the night before. There was a big wedding in Ménerbes over this past weekend – the debris remains.

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