Updated: Oct 1, 2020
We have officially said ‘au revoir’ to summer here in France – cold winds blew in, the forecast changed to constant rain and drizzle and the leaves are rapidly changing. While I am already nostalgic for the warm, carefree days of summers, there is one bright side to the arrival of fall…
At the end of every summer, we have a tradition of heading out into the countryside around Paris to harvest our own vegetables and fruit. It is surprising how quickly you can leave the city behind and find yourself in farm territory.
Our favorite farm to visit is Les Fermes de Gally, about a 40 minute drive from Paris. This is one of the more commercial farms, in the sense that they have created a large complex and invest a lot in marketing, but it is the most reliable in terms of always being open and having enough crops to get a good harvest in, along with some organized family activities. Their offerings include 'Pick Your Own' fruits and veggies and workshops for kids, and on another site not far from the farm, a large shop with fresh groceries from their land (Honey! Jam! Fresh pressed apple juice!), a café, petting zoo, and even a big chicken shop (huge hit with kids).
When you arrive, grab a wheelbarrow at the entrance to transport the kiddos - it will be needed, as the grounds are sprawling! There are bags and boxes also at the entrance - take a bag for each type of produce you plan on harvesting. As it was the end of summer, we got plenty of yellow and green zucchini, pâtissons (apparently pattypan squash in English? They are so darn cute!), tomatoes, bell peppers, and some raspberries. There is even a flower field where you can pick you own bouquet. It was too early for apple picking – we may just need a repeat trip soon! Everything is weighed at the exit to calculate the prices.
This is one of the best ways for kids to understand where food comes from, and the labor that goes into harvesting the pristine produce that seems to magically show up in the grocery store.
Visiting a farm to pick your own produce is a great summer and fall activity - just make sure you have access to a car to get out to the countryside and bring back your haul! Oh, and wear some rain boots if possible - farm life is muddy! Happy picking!
Les Fermes de Gally
https://www.lesfermesdegally.com/ (French only)
Route de Saint-Cyr 78870 Bailly