Tag Archives: organic

Le fournil de Luc

Photo courtesy of Le fournil de Luc

We didn’t imagine when we moved here that we would be just 30 minutes away from an organic bakery and café, especially given how far everything else is from us.

But we are! And it’s wonderful :)

Fournil bio de Luc


On our first visit (of hopefully many) Shake sampled a chocolatine (the name for a pain au chocolat in the south of France) and I had a chocolate chip brioche.

Both were delicious and not as sweet as you would expect, which was perfect.

The coffee was great too and our waitress was adorable – completely charmed by our baby.

We couldn’t leave without buying some bread – maybe Shake will review it another time.

Fournil bio de Luc

Very pretty (and tasty) organic bread

We are sure to visit again soon :)





Vegetable seeds for the winter garden

Vegetable seeds for winter garden

I’ve never grown winter veg, so this is going to be an experiment.

I’ve gone for the scatter-gun approach and bought a pack of anything that can be sown in September or October.  Including some vegetables I’m famous for hating – though I’m trying to work through my food issues as best I can.

It was also a good way to learn the French names for some of the less common vegetables.

And I must start work on that field soon, or I’ll have no-where to sow these.

Couiza Bio Festival

Festival entrance

Last weekend we visited the (14th!) annual Bio (Organic) festival in Couiza.

We weren’t looking for anything in particular, but were hopeful to see like-minded people and enjoy the surroundings with baby.

Alongside the produce market (fruits, vegetables, honey, bread, cheese, wine, herbs, seeds…) were craftspeople (selling clothes, handmade leather shoes, wicker baskets, tools, pottery, children’s toys), demonstrators, films, lectures and a whole area dedicated to green building/construction.

Bio market

The location was beautiful – stalls set alongside the river Aude – and the weather just perfect.

I especially enjoyed a stall where a lady had recycled children’s clothes into handbags – very creative! The place was full of families who would have probably been interested in the section for clothes swaps. Had we known this was here we would have brought the many clothes baby has now grown out of!

We didn’t stay for too long but I am already looking forward to the next festival when my french will hopefully be considerably better. One of the talks was about the role of the midwife in France – in the UK I was told to have a home birth next time so it would have been useful to listen to that lecture!

Market stalls



The value of homemade bread

My first loaves from the new proofing baskets

While (barely) awake at 5.30am and mixing dough I had a panic about the amount of flour I would get through if I continued baking my current recipe every day. It would be about 7kg per week, costing about 10 Euros.

10 Euros felt like quite a lot, given our weekly food budget is about 35 Euros. So I did a few sums. Slowly.

I’m making 2 x 1kg loaves per day. One of these is for us, and the other goes to the in-laws or other visitors. So to start with I can halve the 10 Euro cost as only half of it comes from our food budget, the other half is a form of rent :)

Next I looked at the bread I could buy with 5 Euros, and a 1kg boule from a decent bakery is about 4.50 Euros. And if I wanted organic bread (the flour I’m using is both local and organic) this would cost even more.

So each day, my costs are about 1.60 Euros (including a little for electricity) and the bread made has a commercial value of about 10 Euros. Over a week, that’s about 11 Euros costs, for roughly 70 Euros value.

In terms of the hands-on time working the bread, this works out something close to minimum wage so an economist would tell me that my hours are better spent earning my wage as a web developer and buying the bread instead.

But the economist doesn’t have useful metrics for pleasure, self-satisfaction, resilience, creativity, learning, the smell of bread baking as you work in the afternoon, or the lessons you teach your children when you show them how to make things with their own hands.

Given the numbers, and the things that don’t have numbers, I think I’m in profit.

Shake out.

This posted has been submitted to Yeast Spotting

Local festival for organic farming ethics

L'Aude a la BioI spotted this poster when were out exploring the other day. It looks like a great event, so hopefully we’ll make it along for at least some of it.

It’s being run by a local association who are working to bring together producers and consumers of organic, ethically produced foods from the local area.

This is the website for Nature & Progress

Baby expenses

Bambino Mio consumables.jpg © by Regal Lager

Shake and I made the decision early on in my pregnancy to use re-useable nappies for our baby.

I spent weeks researching different brands, reading reviews and comparing prices and “special deals”.

In the end, I decided to ignore the reviews and chose a brand that had been recommended by a colleague of mine – Bambino Mio.

I found what appeared to be a good deal online and we now have enough nappies to last him for 2 years!

We compared this cost to the cost of using disposable nappies and even when factoring in the cost of electricity for the washing machine, reuseable nappies were considerably cheaper. Others have prepared even more detailed evaluations. Of course, we were concerned about the environmental impact as much, if not more so, than the financial.

When we packed our hospital bag we tried to take everything on the list as advised by the midwives. To clean baby, we were told to bring cotton wool pads. Whilst this seemed like a great idea (and better than using wipes), we could still see that this would generate a lot of waste.

Model sewing machine © by David Hilowitz

Therefore, with the help of my mother-in-law and her sewing skills, I bought some material and decided to make my own reuseable wipes. I read several articles online which suggested using flannel and found some which was both organic and unbleached, which would be kindest for baby.

We have been using them for 2 months now (time is flying by…) and they are still holding up well. The more they are used, the more absorbent they seem to be.

Do you have any suggestions for other homemade baby products that I could make?