In this Var village, the 40th Kestenijada begins on Sunday

In this Var village, the 40th Kestenijada begins on Sunday

“Drought prevents replanting”

The old chestnut tree, whose trunk is eight meters in circumference, looks sharply at its surroundings. Because, if the regression of his “family” was stabilized around 1950 on about 2,000 hectares in Var, the fact remains that his relatives no longer feed the lines of the territory.

Diseases and repeated periods of drought are to blame for this.

In Mayons, the youngest took over the family land. Thierry Nonjon is one of the last vintage castanéiculturalists and representative of the “average” owner. He continues in the footsteps of his ancestors, a few months away from offering the land to his son. The first baskets of chestnuts and chestnuts (1) should be offered at the entrance to the square.

“Here, the chestnut tree fed several families after the war. It is a part of history. The reality is that the chestnut tree has aged quite a lot and, despite the recovery plans, the process is long and meets the vagaries of the weather and on this side it stabilizes, precisely thanks to the extreme heat that prevented any spread”he notes.

Ten times less fruits in 50 years

In Mayons, two large producers provide most of the local fruit. “From my side, it will be like in 2021, that is, almost 300 kg/haemphasizes Thierry Nonjon. I cultivate four hectares, but only one is well maintained and therefore has a better return. We can no longer replant because of the drought. So we got rain in mid-August which helped the fruit to bloom.”

However, since 1966, the Nonjon family has gone from ten tons… to ten times less today. Nevertheless, let’s accept this sign: the 2022 harvest offers healthy fruits, not too fleshy, but sweet, with fine flesh (especially most often Marrouge and Sardonne).

The modest producers of Les Maures (300 ha between Les Mayons and Gonfaron) promise to delight their guests with their little red treasures. “Artifice” if we mean Ardèche heavyweights.

1. The chestnut tree produces two types of fruit, in different proportions. Chestnut when the fruit is unique in its beetle, and chestnut, two or three in a partitioned container.

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