The Simple And Satisfying Pleasures Of French Country Life

“We recently visited an organic beef and lamb farm,” writes France Correspondent Lucy Culpepper from her home in the southwest of that country.

“It was part of an annual, all-weekend event held across France. Farmers opened their doors (and their stables) to visitors to show off their animals, their cheese making, and their meat, wine, and vegetable production.

“We visited the farm of Josie and Jean Pierre Pommiés, just outside the pretty village of Coarraze in the beautiful rolling countryside of the Haut Béarn. Jean Pierre is a classic shepherd; in early summer he drives his animals, on foot, up into the lush green valleys of the Haut Béarn, the famous transhumance.

“Monsieur Pommiés told me that he knows the sound of the bell worn by each of his ‘lead’ animals. Quite a feat when you realize that he has well over 100 lead animals! Many of the bells they wear were on display in the main barn, and each did have a beautiful clonking tune.

“We will be returning to the farm in July to walk with M. Pommiés up into the mountains. He’ll be bringing a couple of donkeys in case the walkers can’t keep up with him!

“As a footnote: My husband thought the beef was delicious. (I’m a strict but open-minded vegetarian.) The Pommiés sell 10 kg of prepared beef (a mixture of cuts) for 13 euro/kg. That’s a good deal cheaper than in the supermarkets, and they deliver to your door.”

Kathleen Peddicord

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