Melon season in Poitou-Charentes
Melons from the Poitou-Charentes area of France are now in season, with an incredible one quarter of French melons coming from this western region.
Despite earlier problems with drought and cold snaps, the crop is flourishing this year, making it over 60 years since the melon - originally a sub-tropical fruit - started being grown and popularised in this country.
French melons - alongside their freshness and delicate taste - are prized for their health benefits, and, as well as being low in calories, are a good source of potassium and vitamin C. Orange melons - such as cantaloupes - are also rich in vitamin A (carotene), which can help promote good skin and eye health.
Part of the wider Nouvelle-Aquitaine area, including the departments of Charente, Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sèvres and Vienne, the region itself is carefully divided into specific melon-growing areas, including around 30 communities in Vienne, and four in Deux-Sèvres.
Melons started being grown here properly at the end of the 1950s, and one factory in the region can now employ thousands of people, producing tens of thousands of tonnes of melon per year.
One such example is Le Rouge Gorge producer, which employs 1,500 people and produces 30,000 tonnes per year (although this also includes its produce from farms in Béziers, in the Languedoc; and Spain).
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