It smells good for the aromatic plant sector in Alsace

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economy The leader in France in herbal infusions and organic teas, Les jardin de Gaïa, is experimenting with the cultivation of aromatic plants in Haut-Rhin with the hope of creating a real sector in Alsace

Çit smells good for the aromatic plant sector in Alsace

Organic cultivation of marigold in Ungersheim (Haut-Rhin) on September 13, 2023., plant with infusion for the herbal teas of the Jardins de Gaïa —G. Varela/20 Minutes

  • The independent and family business Lesjardins de Gaïa, leader in France in herbal infusions and organic and fair trade teas, wants to relocate some of the infusion plants that it uses for its herbal teas to Alsace.
  • < li>With its partners, notably the commune of Ungersheim (Haut-Rhin), it is experimenting with several species of aromatic and medicinal perfume plants (PPAM) starting with marigolds and cornflowers.

  • The objective is to create a real economically viable sector in the region.

Producers of herbal and organic teas do not want to rest on their laurels. Les jardin de Gaïa, an independent producer and processor for nearly thirty years based in Paris. à Wittisheim (Bas-Rhin), French leader in number of references, tonnage and turnover, is working to achieve this. relocate a plant sector to infusion in the south… of Alsace. More precisely in Haut-Rhin, in the small town of Ungersheim where a real support network has been set up in a basin usually dedicated to to cereal or wine crops.

As part of a municipal agricultural authority on the Tréfle rouge gardens, land belonging to In the town of Ungersheim, three market gardeners are working to create a market for themselves. grow blueberries, marigolds, all obviously organic and fair trade. Flowers whose petals will be used in the composition of future herbal teas from the Jardins de Gaïa. And this is only the beginning because sixteen varieties of plants are planned for experimentation. An attempt which, however, due to caution, does not yet benefit from large investments.

We need to “first’see how it works despite the situation. climate variations, how to increase profitability “by mechanizing certain tasks, notably picking and harvesting petals for drying and competing with a very different hourly rate in certain foreign countries,” emphasizes Kendji , the market gardener of Trèfle rouge. After three months of cultivation, the question remains unanswered. Even if a good part of these plants manage to survive; grow in Alsace, create an economically viable sector of plants aromatic and medicinal perfumes (PPAM) organic and local in Alsace remains, at listening to the specialists, a great adventure.

An attempt that smells good for local farmers because the family business, which wishes to be geographically closer to the sectors with which it usually works, “displaces 230 tonnes of materials each year, including one quarter composed of plants “infusions,” says Cassandre Maury, general director of the Jardins de Gaïa. Plants purchased directly from producers, whether individuals, cooperatives, associations, and which they transform to produce tea. and herbal teas, more than 650 marketed references…

Çsent good for the aromatic plant sector in Alsace

Organic marigolds and blueberries grown locally. Ungersheim (Haut-Rhin) September 13, 2023. – G. Varela/20 Minutes

An experiment motivated by the desire of the Jardins de Gaïa to see part of its purchase catalog of 150 plants at its disposal. infusion produced in France, increase significantly. Currently, tea leaves They mainly come from countries outside the European Union (Asia, Africa, Latin America). This is not the case for flowering plants. infusion. More than 10% of Jardins de Gaïa purchases are produced in France, depending on the terroirs (south, center and west of the country). « The rest of our productions come from France. 50% of the European Union then outside the EU,” explains Cassandre Maury. An observation which suggests some hopes for the organic and eco-responsible Alsatian project and which is attractive. Bio in Grand-Est, the Alsace-Lorraine Water and Sanitation Union (SDEA) or even the Grand-Est region and the Rhin Meuse Water Agency are involved. p>

But for the moment “ we are really here on the establishment of experimental PPAM crops, over three years, to see at the level of the terroir, at the level of costs, of the productivity, etc., what this gives, tempers Cassandre Maury. “We have just made the first harvests of what has been harvested. planted in the spring and we will have to make technical adjustments, test their organoleptic qualities [visual, sensory qualities, taste] and also try to cultivate the other plants placed on the Organic list in Grand-Est.  » The beginning of a flowery adventure in Alsace.