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Scientific & cultural excursion No. 7

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Centre Beauce / Ile-de-France

OVERVIEW of the Region 

 

 

The Centre-Val de Loire region, including Beauce, with its rich variety of soils and landscapes has an efficient and diversified agricultural production. The agricultural areas cover about 2.4 million hectares. It is the second largest agricultural region in France (60% of its territory). Cereal production (9,390,000 tons) including wheat (29% of the agricultural area, 5,060,600 tons), but also barley, winter barley and corn ... make the region a European leader in terms of production. Moreover, oilseed production is about 1,272,340 tons including rapeseed (20% of the country's land), sunflower and protein crops (221,850 tons). Historically called the "Garden of France", the Centre produces some 360,000 tons of vegetables from an area of 11,714 hectares (excluding potatoes). Field vegetables are grown in north part of the region and market gardening mainly in the center. The Eure-et-Loir puts about two thirds of its surface in the production of green beans, peas and onions for 45% (France leading production region). Approximately 75% of the countries leek production (10,800 tons) is produced in the Loir-et-Cher and nearly 50% of the hexagonal red beet is grown in the Central region, especially in the Loiret ... The famous green lentils production from Berry (Label Rouge / IGP) represents 31% of the national production.

 

About potatoes 

 

 

The total potato harvest is about 550,000 tons (11,000 hectares) mainly to supply packed ware  and salad potatoes, with nice looking skin after washing, highly appreciated by hypermarkets and their retail consumers. This amount represents about 10% of the French production of ware potatoes. Furthermore, approximately 500 hectares are dedicated to the production of potato seed. The leading companies in the area are Parmentine, Pom’Alliance and Terre de France.Other vegetable crops are asparagus (second place nationally), lettuce, celery, turnips, artichokes, peppers and wild mushrooms are very present in this forest region. Grown on 3,900 hectares, Fruit is also numerous in the region, particularly in the Cher, Indre-et-Loire and Loiret departments. The main products are apples (988,000 quintals), pears (133,000 quintals), but also red berries (467 ha including 365 ha of blackcurrants), strawberries (13% of national production), stone fruits (253 ha including 205 ha of cherries), nuts (170 ha). Organic and Bio production are concentrated in the Indre-et-Loire and the Loiret regions. Horticulture is highly developed in the Centre region with some 300 farms, the Loiret is the main producer for the Indre-et-Loire. In second place nationally for nurseries and young plants, the third-largest bedding plants and 5th for potted plants, representing 20% of national rose production.
 (D’après http://www.rungisinternational.com/ & Agreste)

 

Scientific visits

ARVALIS – Institut du végétal (www.arvalisinstitutduvegetal.fr)

 

 

ARVALIS - Institut du vegetal is an applied agricultural research organisation (staff: 400) dedicated to arable crops: cereals, maize, sorghum, potatoes, fodder crops, flax and tobacco.

LATE BLIGHTIt was founded by farmers and dedicates its expertise to the creation of production systems that combine economic competiveness, adjusting to markets and protecting the environment. It considers technological innovation as a major tool to enable producers and agri-companies to respond to societal challenges. 

The Institute has effective means through 27 local sites in France, with a broad range of activities. It operates from the field scale to post-harvest stages and first processes.

 

 

LATE BLIGHTARVALIS works in strong relations with breeders and inputs firms (seeds, nutrients and phytochemicals), as well as feed, food and non-food industries.  

As an applied research institute, it interfaces with French and international basic research infrastructures such as INRA, IRSTEA, and Universities (collaborating through various research projects), and the development organisms such as Chambers of Agriculture and economic operators (co-ops…).

Over its 27 sites, and in collaboration with its partners, ARVALIS is experimenting with technical and economic solutions and evaluating them, as well as developing innovations and ensuring their dissemination to farmers and advisors. Its studies focus on agronomy, economy, knowledge of plants, modelling, biotechnology, crop management and protection, agri-environmental matters, precision farming, agri-equipment, digital applications, harvesting and storage, and markets for the agricultural products on which it focuses.

 

Parmentine (Website: www.parmentine.fr)

 

 

parmentine1The company PARMENTINE is a company specialized on potatoes production and packaging. It’s one of the three largest producers of potatoes in France.

PARMENTINE brand was created in 1997 by potato growers from Champagne and Beauce region. There are currently 170 employees and 250 producers.

 


PARMENTINEThis customer-friendly enterprise has built its corporate culture in the name of difference which is visible at every step in the company.To offer a varied range of products and to guarantee the original qualities of the potatoes, the producing areas of PARMENTINE are distributed over different regions of France, which are known for the variety and quality of their “terroir”.


PARMENTINEIts international export activity represents 35% in Europe-Western, Eastern, North and South.Storage and conditioning unit – VOVES (Beauce)PARMENTINE was established on the VOVES site in 1997. In July 2014, a new storage and conditioning unit, equipped with innovative and high performance materials, was inaugurated. Today the site offers a fridge capacity of 55 000 tonnes using ethylene in stores. This new packaging unit of more than 8 000 m2 is built with fire-resistant materials with a goal of improving energy performance.It is equipped with the most modern technologies in terms of sorting and grading of potatoes. Reception and reheat of the potatoes from storage are made in water, making it the only unit in France equipped with this technology. Its design and equipment contribute to a priority which is the respect of product conformity.

PARMENTINEPARMENTINE



Cultural visits

CHARTRES Cathedral & old town

 

 

chartresChartres is a charming and well-preserved medieval city, just 1.5 hour away from Paris.

Many winding cobblestoned streets, cute timbered houses, old bridges and of course the massive Notre-Dame Cathedral all make for a nice time.

Chartres Cathedral,  named “Notre-Dame” of Chartres, is a medieval Catholic cathedral of the Latin Church located in Chartres, about 80 kilometres (50 mi) southwest of Paris. It is considered as one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The current cathedral, mostly constructed between 1194 and 1250, is the last of at least five which have occupied the site since the town became a bishopric in the 4th century.

The cathedral is in an exceptional state of preservation. The majority of the original stained glass windows survive intact, while the architecture has seen only minor changes since the early 13th century. The building's exterior is dominated by heavy flying buttresses which allowed the architects to increase the window size significantly, while the west end is dominated by two contrasting spires – a 105-metre (349 ft.) plain pyramid completed around 1160 and a 113-metre (377 ft.) early 16th-century Flamboyant spire on top of an older tower.

Equally notable are the three great façades, each adorned with hundreds of sculpted figures illustrating key theological themes and narratives.Since at least the 12th century the cathedral has been an important destination for travellers and remains so to this day, attracting large numbers of Christian pilgrims, many of whom come to venerate its famous relic, the Sancta Camisa, said to be the tunic worn by the Virgin Mary at Christ's birth, as well as large numbers of secular tourists who come to admire the cathedral's architecture and historical merit.Chartres old town is located to the banks of the Eure River, which at this point divides into three branches.

The rives is crossed by several bridges, some of them ancient, and is fringed in places by remains of the old fortifications. The Porte Guillaume (14th century), a gateway flanked by towers, is the most complete specimen. The steep, narrow streets of the old town contrast with the wide, shady boulevards which encircle it and divide it from the suburbs. The Cbs St Jean, a pleasant park, lies to the north-west, and squares and open spaces are numerous.The Hotel de ville, a building of the 17th century (containing a museum and library), an older hotel de ville of the 13th century, and several medieval and Renaissance houses, are also points of interest.

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