To collect five or six small Norman seeds from other collectors, Willy Franchet does not hesitate to travel more than an hour.
Local varieties banned for sale and therefore exchanged between initiates, "with the aim, of course, of preserving them", confides the Normand in his experimental greenhouse.
In the Eure, they want to hear the song of the yellow-bellied toad again
At the bottom of his garden in Saint-Aubin-de-Scellon (Eure), where in the 18th century potato cultivation was first experimented in Normandy by the village priest, this teacher grows a whole bunch of plants. regions, whose history he discovers by examining the writings of the time when these plants were still queen of the gardens.
Sucrins from Honfleur and cabbage from Saint Saën
At the beginning of spring, several Sucins of Honfleur are starting to emerge from the ground.
A Norman melon that was once grown, says Willy Franchet, on fermented manure by protecting it under glass bells.
“It was thought to have disappeared when in the past it was produced on an industrial scale and sold as far as England.
Another source of pride: his two cabbage plants from Saint Saën, originating in the Rouen region, weighing up to 20 kilos and "which made it possible to spend the winter when you had a large family".
Willy Franchet, who participates in the creation of several conservatory vegetable gardens in his sector, gets his supplies in particular from the Montviette Nature association, which for three decades has been collecting varieties of ancient Norman vegetables which are then put back into the circuit of amateur gardeners.
Seeds banned from catalogs
Varieties, which "officially are not productive enough and to which hybrids have been preferred".
“The unofficial version, decrypts Christianne Dorléans, head of the association.
This is because the seed companies prefer to register their own new varieties which are more profitable financially.
About thirty Norman vegetables absent from the official catalogs were thus rediscovered, “often among elderly people more able to cultivate their garden.
And who want the variety owned by the father or grandfather not to disappear ”.
To the gardeners who contact it, the association gives a maximum of fifteen seeds, so that they can make their own seeds and share them in turn.