“This is our own spice. Matilde had warned us. The young mustard shoots that bloom under his greenhouse are like a bomb on the tongue. And these are not the only ones! Behind their small size, all the young plants that she and her husband JS pamper daily hide an absolutely confusing taste. The very young leek is garlic, the radish and arugula spicy, the beetroot sweet and sweet. “We often think that young shoots are only used for decorating plates. But they have a very powerful taste, in addition to being nutritious bombs, ”slips Matilde, picking a few leaves of red cabbage. Agriculture from the Crapaudel farm is anything but intensive. It is rather minimalist.
Fallen in love in the middle of the stalls of a small market in the Marseille region, the couple left Provence a little over a year ago with the idea of taking over the farm of JS’s parents in Vern-sur- Cuttlefish, very close to Rennes. A farm of more than 30 hectares where around thirty dairy cows were raised. To launch their activity, Matilde and JS did not need much. If they have a hectare where a few aromatics and pretty edible flowers grow, they only use a few square meters to grow their very young plants. “We had discovered microgreens with friends who are
The Urban Vegetable Garden in Marseille. We are very happy with the agriculture of the little one. It is very different from large farms. Here, you don’t need a tractor or large fields, ”explains JS. Parents of a young child, these “farmers 2.0” take responsibility for wanting to take advantage of their weekends and prefer to spare themselves too physical work.
To work, the couple only have a greenhouse where their very young plants grow for ten to fifteen days, a small germination room and an old tub that serves as a washing station and a whirlpool bath. “Microgreens are like princesses, they like to be treated gently,” says Matilde. Produced in a specific soil, these soilless cultures were to come to garnish the plates of the restaurants of Rennes. Problem: when Matilde and JS launched in March, the restaurant was completely closed, due to the resurgence of the Covid-19 epidemic. “We opened up to direct sales and it was crazy, we had lots of curious people coming to see us. We didn’t expect that, ”says Matilde.
“The seeds decide”
The madness has since taken off and the small Crapaudel farm has found a calmer pace. The couple took the opportunity to test new varieties (the summer catalog already has 25) and refine their technique on certain capricious plants such as the well-known basil. As the end of summer approaches, some seeds will not want to come out, but others will replace them. Very invested in protecting the environment, Matilde and JS refuse to heat their only greenhouse. “We want to follow the seasonality. The seeds decide. “
The restaurants having reopened, the Crapaudel farm already supplies a few tables in Rennes and the surrounding area, such as LeCoq-Gadby, Le Café Breton or Petite Nature. Offered for direct sale at the farm every Friday afternoon, their microgreens will soon be present at the new weekly market in Vern, on Tuesday evening.