Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Walking Around Neuilly le Brignon


Our Thursday 3 October club walk took us to Neuilly le Brignon. Here are some photos from the afternoon, which was surprisingly warm and sunny.

Fromagerie Maurice.
Photographed by Susan Walter.  Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Fromagerie Maurice is a local success story. A family farm for generations, they diversified ten years ago when the ever decreasing price of milk meant they couldn't make ends meet. Now they transform the nine hundred thousand litres of milk from their one hundred strong herd of cows into cheeses, prize winning rice pudding and yoghurts. When they first started they tried different sorts of cheeses. The tome worked well, but their camembert turned grey and their reblochon style was bright yellow. Neither posed a health risk but they were unappetising looking to the point of being unsaleable. So they very sensibly gave up on the weird looking ones and just concentrated on the tome and a range of yoghurts. After a slow and difficult start of several years, they became members of the producers farm shop La Charrette in Chambray lès Tours and within five years sales had increased 1200% through word of mouth. Now yoghurt production is two million pots a year and cheese is four and a half tonnes. Several years ago, with support from the Communauté des Communes Lochois Sud Touraine, they expanded their production facilities and added cheese maturing storerooms. Now they employ ten people.

Crossing the Brignon via a slightly rickety bridge.
Photographed by Susan Walter.  Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Naturalised cyclamen flowering on the side of the road in front of Bellevue, a grand farmhouse.
Photographed by Susan Walter.  Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

A gravid green female Praying Mantis Mantis religiosa (Fr. Mante religieuse).
Photographed by Susan Walter.  Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
This female Praying Mantis is ready to lay her eggs. We saw several of these.

Galya demonstrating her novel way of transporting wild foraged mushrooms.
Photographed by Susan Walter.  Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Several people on the walk spent a good deal of time diving off to the edge of the track to gather quite small and rather dried up looking mushrooms. So far as I can tell they were finding Scotch Bonnet Marasmius oreades (Fr. Faux mousseron) and White Dapperling Leucoagaricus leucothites (Fr. Lépiote pudique). Both have toxic lookalikes which can be mistaken for them.

A heathy section of forest, with the understorey dominated by 
Heather Calluna vulgaris (Fr. Bruyère commune)
Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

An impressive veggie garden in the hamlet of Le Chatelier.
Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The curtain wall of Le Chatelier.
Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Deer Ked Lipoptena cervi (Fr. Mouche de cerf).
Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
These strange flat flies are not very commonly seen. At this time of year they are newly emerged and ready to jump out of the vegetation onto any passing hairy mammal. This can include people, in this case Dominique. I'd had one on me the week before. The flies are parasites of deer and other mammals in the forest. They bury themselves in the hair of their host and once settled their wings fall off. Wikipedia is interesting about their life cycle.


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