The Jardin de Brizé is located on the vineyards of the Domaine de Brizé in the Pays de la Loire, at the gates of Angers and Saumur. In parallel with the family winery, my wife and I have chosen to create a separate structure. In homage to my father-in-law, we decided to call it the Jardin de Brizé; for it was precisely in this garden, in 1975, that my father-in-law began to cultivate small red fruits.
The Jardin de Brizé has been certified organic farming since 2021. The activity is located on an area in geological conflict, that is to say that within a very small space there are very different terroirs. Throughout the wine-growing zone the annual water regime is low (less than 500 mm). Goji berries, on the other hand, require a minimum amount of water during specific vegetative periods. To do this, we have a borehole and carry out drip-controlled irrigation. We use less than 300m3 of water per hectare or about 10 litres per week per plant. In addition, in order to optimise water use, we switched to a fertilisation system in the irrigation system in one of the two plots to deal with difficult climatic episodes, such as heat waves.
The Jardin de Brizé is spread across 7 hectares, of which 4 hectares are dedicated to the cultivation of Goji berries. Every other row is cultivated with green manures to ensure the vegetation cover of our soils and promote biodiversity. This allows us to control the proliferation of insects that could be potentially harmful to plants and attracts birds that feast on insects and our Goji berries!
We use ORGANIC fertilisers not produced on the farm, from animal waste. We use them in a very localised way (about 750 kg per year and per hectare). Plant waste is crushed and spread on the ground. We don't have a compost area yet. This is on the cards, but we will not be able to do it in the Garden due to a sensitive stream below the farm.
We are currently working with local stakeholders on the possibility of upgrading fruit that cannot be marketed as such for processing into vinegar, fruit for macerations, etc.
As for the workforce, we are part of a group of employers that we created, 20 years ago, with other producers (wine growers, market gardeners, rose growers, breeders, etc.). This allows us to share between us the working time of one or more employees, paid according to the collective agreement. Thus we build work schedules for a dozen permanent employees and fifty seasonal workers that we regularly find on our farms. This organisation allows us to train teams and overcome mobility problems.