PRODUCER & TERROIR
Working the land has long been part of the Figuets’ family history. Farming is a livelihood passed down for five generations and the family has been able to adapt and grow, whatever has been thrown at them. For instance, when their home farm was flooded by a new dam, they had to start again from scratch in Ville-sous-Anjou. Here, father Michel and his sons Serge and Franck founded La Coccinelle in 1986, and it is with the two brothers that we work today. Michel has retired but still comes to the farm to offer his advice.
« Here, we work alongside the moon, the wind, the temperature, insects and water to make even tastier strawberries. »Strawberry farmer working with his father and brother
Read more about the excellent climate Villeneuve-sur-Anjou offers strawberries in the section entitled “Charlotte & Magnum Strawberry Purée”.
Franck grows his strawberries hydroponically. This technique’s public image isn’t always positive, but Franck believes absolutely in its benefits. Hydroponics grows strawberries in substrate raised to human height in tunnels that protect them from the weather and waters them using a self-sufficient irrigation system.
The technique offers several advantages. First, it enables farmers to hire enough staff for the harvest, bearing in mind that growing strawberries in the open is particularly difficult to do and backbreaking for pickers. The numbers of people willing to do such work are dwindling. Hydroponics also enables growers to tailor the amount of nutrients and water they provide using a modern “fertigation” system that rations inputs more carefully than traditional techniques. By controlling the growing process this closely, producers can develop highly aromatic fruit.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL ACTION
Franck uses the latest technology to reduce his farm’s environmental impact. Water is recycled through a closed circuit. He uses ozone to disinfect water, preventing diseases from reaching the plants’ root system. Franck’s water usage has shrunk by more than 50%.
He has also welcomed Laurent, or “the pharmacist” as his nickname would have it, to the farm. Laurent creates 100% plant-based alternatives to chemicals. This research entrepreneur travels across France looking for roots and algae that can be transformed into farming products. Laurent has been given access to farm buildings where he can run his experiments and develop his business, but he can also test his prototypes on Franck’s plants. In return, Franck gets cutting-edge environmentally friendly treatments for his strawberries. Laurent’s strategy is a novel one, involving drip-feeding plant extracts that then repel predators. This system is more respectful towards existing ecosystems because it keeps out harmful species, rather than killing them.
Working with Partner Producers Too
We always want our supply chains to be as short and direct as possible and to work with a single producer whenever we can. However, if we use two varieties of the same fruit or orchards are too small to meet our needs, we will work with several producer partners instead. We always apply the same standards, specifications and commitments as we do with the grower we present to you in greater depth. Fruit supply chains often require teamwork, and it is essential we get to know all our growers and support their efforts.
Patrick Marty Capdrot France
Daniel Chabot Damazan France
Philippe Lachi Puch d'Agenais France
Gilles Lachi Puch d'Agenais France