Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Farming in the Pyrénées

Near Lescun, France

I am just back from a visit to the Pyrénées, specifically to the village of Lescun which is at a height of around 1,000 metres. Often large flocks of sheep were on the roads as 'transhumance' was taking place from the mountain areas to the valley floors. Read more about 'transhumance' here: Transhumance

The sheep here are used to produce milk from which cheese is made. This creates good value added, and along with subsidies, allows the peasants to survive. I was advised that 'paysan' is not a derogatory word in French: it is simply one of those words that does not translate well.

I also tasted yoghurt made from sheep's milk, although I preferred the product using goat milk.Reference was made to a 'progressive' local dairy farmer who had built her herd up to 20 cows. That would not be seen as viable in the UK, but it is a different style of farming.

The village

The population of the commune has shrunk as pastoralism has declined and the village has a number of second homes. Village children go to a school in the valley. Efforts have been made to ensure that there is good internet connectivity. There is a bed and breakfast (once a hotel) and some tourist activity related to the excellent opportunities for walking.

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