Harvest Time in the Loire River Valley

Hello Friends and Fellow Campers! And of course, all food lovers where ever you are. Gourmet Girl Denise here from the Loire River Valley, France.

On September 15th I will have been in France for one year. Wow! During that year I opened a French bank account, (no easy task!), bought a car, began house hunting, bought an old 17th/18th-century farmhouse, remodeled it partially, began the paperwork to attain my French citizenship, met lots of wonderful people, and put in a small veggie garden. Boy am I tired! Just kidding. It has been a whirlwind year but one I will always treasure. And the adventure continues!

The air has begun to get that crisp, fall snap to it, especially in the late afternoon and morning. The trees are shedding their leaves and it has begun to rain more often. The golden light hits my poplar trees and sets them ablaze in happy yellow. And the vegetable garden overflows with seed grown golden zucchini, eggplants, tomatoes, and arugula. I have never succeeded in growing eggplant (aubergine here in France) in California, but here in the Loire, everything grows!

I grew the golden zucchini from seed!

And the arugula too! Look who I found keeping the pests off of my greens.

This is what I made with some of my harvests.

And I also made The Gourmet Girls Go Camping Cookbook ‘Cast Iron Ratatouille’ with the zucchini, tomatoes, and eggplant. You can too! It’s on page 142!


As the summer wound down to a close some new British friends of mine invited me to an evening of Moules frite. That means steamed mussels and french fries! We all met at the ‘Restaurant De La Gare’ in Linieres -Bouton, just five minutes away from my house, where for a fixed price you get all of the mussels and fries you can eat and wine too!

There were two dipping sauces for the mussels, one curry, and one herb. They were delicious! And oh so fresh! What a way to end the summer. And the best part was that it was all for charity, so you didn’t mind pigging out nearly as much as one would have otherwise.

What did you do this summer? Let us know! We love to hear about your adventures so leave us a comment here.

Keep on going out into your gardens and nature! It is where we all come from and it grounds us and helps us remember our humble beginnings. Put your fingers and toes into the good earth. It feels good!


Denise, Gail, and Lindsey

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