1 cochons noirs 1
The famous cochons noirs

Yesterday was the first of 2016’s “De Ferme en Ferme” events, where you’re invited to follow a circuit of open houses at farms in a region. This one was in the Haute Vallée of Aude, a favorite circuit of ours.

9 view petite ferme
Just your typical Aude countryside

We headed south of Carcassonne, past Limoux, then meandered along back roads to our first (and best) destination: “à la Petite Ferme” de Dimitri Duhaumont (a name that made our kid laugh, because you climb and climb to the farm and the farmer’s name means “from the high mountain”).  It’s near the hilltop village of Roquetaillade, which means hacked in the rock.

11 view petite ferme
Bienvenue à la Petite Ferme

The farm specializes in chickens and “cochons noirs Gascons” or black Gascogne pigs.

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Aren’t they cute?

There’s also an Old MacDonald’s assortment of other barnyard friends–geese, chickens, ducks and shy goats, all usually free range. But the fowl are at the moment kept in spacious, wild enclosures to protect them from bird flu.

We first learned about De Ferme en Ferme from friends who said it was great for kids. They not only see, and sometimes pet, animals, but there are also other activities.

We soon learned, however, that the main purpose is adult entertainment of the gastronomic genre. Besides a lunch–reservations required–there was plenty to taste and to buy to take home.

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Preparing grape vines for the barbecue

There was a restored capitelle, or refuge–where shepherds or vignerons could find shade or shelter.

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Outside…dry stone construction, without mortar
18 capitelle
Inside…the roof rises to a dome, whose photo didn’t turn out.

I had the four farms we visited in one post, which crashed my computer. So I’m breaking them up into separate posts. Come back tomorrow for the next stop on our farm tour.

 

 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “De Ferme en Ferme, Part 1

  1. Boy that farm looks well remote, I bet the winters are cold with the wind blowing from all sides, the pics are great and I bet the old shepherds cottage could tell some tales

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  2. “Remote” is putting it mildly. Better make sure you picked up bread (milk isn’t a problem!) before driving home. More cows/sheep than people in those parts. The wind was vicious. They get snow sometimes, but I don’t think they did this winter. I would not want to be on those tiny roads in snow.

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  3. Really interesting and great photos. Looking forward to the next instalments. I love back roads….you never know what surprises are around the next corner.

    Ali x

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    1. We had already done this route a couple of times, but still we found new things. And we took friends–the more drinkers per designated driver the merrier–who were on their first time.

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  4. That’s such beautiful country around there. But it makes Chalabre look like bright lights, big city.
    I’d heard of similar but didn’t know there was a regular circuit. Looking forward to seeing the others.

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    1. Chalabre–or a farm nearby to be accurate–was on this circuit but we didn’t get that far. We left Carcassonne around 9:30 and had to be back by 5. There were farms as far as Gesse and Axat on the roads toward Font Romeu, and then all the way over near Bugarach (the place to be for the end of the world–I’ll write about it another time). The mountain roads make for slow driving, so you kind of have to pick a cluster of four or five out of the 10-12 farms having open house or you have to really speed through them, and that wouldn’t be very French. Speeding on the road, yes, but speeding through a degustation, no.

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  5. I very much enjoyed your two great posts on the open farms – for whatever reason I’ve not visited the ones round here yet!! It’s given me yet another idea about what to do with my free time 🙂

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  6. Love this! Do you know if it’s a whole initiative around France or just where you are? The kids would really enjoy it. We’ve just bought in Perigord.

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