Strawberry Fields at the Ferme de Gally

Under the shade of the grey skies currently hovering over the Yvelines, is a farming land, full of colour, rich in flavor, and open the year long for harvesting by all who so desire.

With summer appearing to have decided on a premature exit this year, the last of the seasonal fruits are hanging in there, waiting to be plucked and quickly gobbled by the little fingers reaching up to pick them. 

On the edge of Versailles, and just a short twenty minute drive west of downtown Paris, lies the Ferme de Gally, a produce farm open to the public.  A wonderful example of community, the farm is an open picking ground where seasonal fruits, vegetables and flowers are grown and the gates are open year round to the public to harvest according to their needs, having tasted along the way.

We’ve long ago abandoned the purchasing of strawberries from countries that continue to fumigate with methyl bromide, so the arrival of strawberry season in the local fields is a time of indulgence chez nous. Elevated at chest height, row upon row of succulent Mara des bois strawberries grow, densely hanging, waiting for consumers to come along and pick direct from the producers.

Walking the fields, you’ll find yourself in the company of locals who come and select their weekly produce.  Retirees, wheelbarrows filled with hearty vegetables, share the fields with school groups on an exploration of nature.  Perhaps you’ll end up thick in the raspberry hedges, or as we found ourselves many times this summer, amongst the fields of strawberries where children reach high, grabbing at rich, juicy red fruit, smearing it on their cheeks as they gorge themselves on the luscious treats before they trundle off to the next.

With September drawing nearer, the days of the wonderful richness of the red summer fruits are numbered.  Soon, they’ll be long gone and replaced with pumpkins, squash and the vegetables of winter soups.  Heavy in flavour and warmth, but lacking the light happiness that comes with sweet summer fruits.

Despite the Beatles lyrics, the ‘strawberry fields’ will only linger for a few more weeks, not forever.  If you are after summer fruits and want to storm the fields like a revolutionary party after the likes of Marie Antoinette, time is running out. 

Take this as your official warning. 

NB: Before you set out, be sure to check the Gally website where you’ll find regularly updated information on the what produce is available any given week.

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