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Chesnuts

chataine 03These are both fruits of the chestnut which there are many varieties.
Brown is a cultivated and improved variety of chestnut. The trick to recognize: non partitioned fruit has only one more large almond, while
chestnut contains multiple (from 2 to 5).
It should not be confused with the fruit of the chestnut tree, the horse chestnuts, which are on the ground in autumn, which are bitter and inedible.
For a long time until the early twentieth century, the culture of the chestnut was an important sector of the rural economy of the Jaur valley.
Its fruit was, until the late nineteenth century, the staple food, especially in the form of flour, which gave it the title of "bread tree".
chataine 01The chestnut is a monoecious species: each tree bears both male flowers and female flowers.
Male flowers bloom from mid-June to mid-July. This is for fruit trees the later flowering. This tree fears the bitter cold and scorching heat. So it grows slightly downhill on lots of light and schistose nature sloping steeply inclined. He loves the pure, crisp air. It grows twice as fast as oak and very few insects can attack it. It bears fruit at the age of 10 years old and lives about 170 years.
Harvest: children gathered and sorted the fruit, women abducted pods and leaves as they fell. They opened bugs using appropriate tools (mass, small wooden fork with two teeth, solas ... see photo cons)
True orchards, chestnut groves of Jaur valley ranged in terraces supported by dry stone walls and crossed by trails 'cobbled' and often steep.
Moist and tender chestnuts are keeping evil, they are dried in the "sécadors" (pronounced sécadous), built on the site of crops. On two floors, these dry stone constructions had a disjointed floor for up to 10 tons of fruit. On the lower floor, a fire without flame and very smoky, was maintained day and night for about 20 days, turning the fruit into châtaignons.
Today, some chestnut are restored for quality productions such as Dausse Farm in St Etienne Albagnan.
Brown Olargues is the flagship strain known territory size and sweet flavor. Other varieties are used to make gingerbread, terrines, jam, cream the greatest jamboree your taste buds ...
Many festivals are held annually in autumn in many villages (Berlou, St Pons, Olargues ...)
Festivals and events around the chestnut and brown
- Autumn Festival in Berlou. tel: 04 67 89 58 58
- Visit of a chestnut and its solar installation at the farm of Dausse in St Etienne Albagnan. 04 67 97 82 30
- Chestnut Festival in St Vincent Olargues. Information 04 67 97 70 03
- Chestnut and burčák St Martin of Arcon. Information 04 67 97 26 90
- Feast of brown and wine new Olargues 1st weekend of November in Olargues. Information 04 67 23 02 21
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Photos: Karen Sulter, MB, Textes extraits fiche patrimoine du PNRHL.