We have been preparing our potager behind our holiday home in the south of France to receive its first residents, les pondeuses, laying hens. From the market in Mirepoix, six Les Noires (Black Rock we think) prête à pondre, at point of lay, are now scratching around in the warm Languedoc sunshine. The hens are 18–20 weeks, and as promised, have already begun laying. Apparently they had until Friday and then they were for the pot, Chef has already named them, Chasseur, Au Vin – you get the picture, he’s hilarious, Chef will be for the pot first.
I have already spent hours with them and my camera, getting to know them. They are timid, as am I, does their peck hurt? My son Sean said I would be scared of them! They have to be persuaded to leave their corner of the coop, perhaps unused to so much space. Already their characters are becoming apparent, one is bolder than the rest and is therefore easily distinguished, one has a darker coat that shimmers emerald green in the spring sunshine.
We are interested in eco tourism and the provenance of food and already source much of the produce locally that we serve at our bed and breakfast in Languedoc. It will be marvellous to collect the eggs each day, I am certain guests will share the delight and be assured that their fluffy lavender omelette has travelled zero food miles.