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Stinging Nettle in France  RSS feed

 
Terry Moren
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My first post ever so please let me know if this is ok. I live on a small old farm in the Vosges mountains in France. I have a lot of organic natural stinging nettle on the property. I would like to know if anyone is connected in such a way that somebody could come out to harvest it. It is fully grown and not flowered yet but that should be soon. Lots of plants are growing naturally on the property but I don't know what most of them are. This one I do know though and it would be interesting to get it harvested and sold. Any help would be great. I am a complete rooky from California living in France. My husband is Dutch and he has no idea what to do with it either.
 
David Livingston
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Hi Terry
I hate to be the barer of bad news but I doubt you will get anyone to take you up on your offer either as nettle as a food crop ( anyone for soup or pesto ? ) nor as a prospective cloth crop ( check out the Permies thread "nettle a long "https://permies.com/t/50840/fiber-arts/Nettle-Long-harvesting-stinging-nettle) nor even as an insecticide .
The only nettle products I have seen for sale were in organic shops ( check out your local Biocoop for example ) and these were made on site artisanal products . I have never seen nettle for sale either living nor dried most people here in France in my experiance regard it as a " mauves herb " and dig it up on site .  I have seen it in every part of France I have visited and up to six feet tall So it has no shortage value also since people " had " to eat it during WWII it has little love these days as it's a reminder of bad times

David
 
Terry Moren
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Thank you. That makes sense. I keep watching videos on youtube and there are people growing it on purpose. On Amazon, it is in a lot of forms for sale. https://www.amazon.com/Traditional-Medicinals-Organic-Nettle-Leaf/dp/B00142C0JM?th=1 ; This one is actually quite expensive. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072F3K613?th=1 ; This one is cheaper. https://www.amazon.com/Stinging-Nettle-Leaf-Sifted-Organic/dp/B00016XK2S ; Then I found this guy. He grows them for sale.
  Thank you! Hello! I hate to waste them, but maybe it is not a good business for me. He does claim he is getting $10 per pound.

 
David Livingston
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I can see the possibility of making money from it BUT and it's a big but you would need to process it into something else that folks will want to buy and you would have to promote it and transport the product yourself I suspect .

David
 
David Livingston
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Also calling something organic in France with out having a certificate AB agriculture biologic is a big no no .and getting the cert requires paper work by the tonne as does everything else in France
How much land do you have ? You could always rent out grazing in return for other services or products or get your fields cropped for hay in return for hay bales . But that depends on having " flat " fields I would talk to your neighbours .

David
 
Terry Moren
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I know it is silly but I am not sure how big the lot is. I went to the majors' office a couple of years ago and it seems like it is about an acre. I know here it is hectares so I think it was close to an acre. I don't have any certifications. Absolutely nothing has been done to the land in probably 15 years. It is a 6 bedroom old Vosges farm house built in the 1700's. I think some people that lived here used to have goats. We've had some old people stop by that said they were born here and there is a completely fallen down the little house, I assume for goats, no more than three or four in the top back of the property. So there has been no real garden, no animals, nothing. Basically, it was wild except for trimming around the house. We had a man come the last two years to cut things down. We've trimmed some trees and he cut down loads of wild blackberries that were matted so tight you couldn't walk anywhere. This year it is a boom of all kinds of different flowers. I don't know what they all are. We have jonquils and daisies and clover and some cute blue flowers and pink flowers and thistles. We had one foxglove, Digitalis last year. Ferns. There are 4 apple trees but the blooms don't stick. I can't trim them myself. I tried but I am 5'3" and they are big, so that didn't happen. We have the fence around the property but there are parts that need repairs. Soon we are renting out one room as B&B. We have a big garage and sometimes have wine tastings there but not often.  The property is 3 tiers. So not the best for mowing hay. They do that all around us here but our property would be hard. The back tier has pine and I am not sure right now what they are called, but I think birch? You can take water from them in March by tapping them. A large part of the property is just grass, but it is on an incline and there are trees in the back, then we have the side yard which is a fairly steep slope. The house sits on the middle level. Then there is a big rock wall about 3 or 4 feet high and down there is a herb fiasco. I don't even know how to guess how many pounds of nettles are down there but it is a lot. Plus other stuff. There are really pretty pink flowers too, long type and the butterflies are everywhere. I've been trying to think of something that would make this a real farm, and not just a token farm. The garage has been tiled and there is wine closets and other furniture in the old stalls so that has changed from an old farm. Then the garage has 3 levels and the bottoms is an old bread oven we would like to fix but it is always a budget issue. In the states, there are grants to help people with all kind of farming start-ups. I fancied raising long wool sheep and looked into that in the states and there were some good ideas except where I lived there was a water shortage and it was too hot. So that didn't happen. I read something here once, but my French is not so good, about some kind of money a person could get if they had a historical age farm that could be seen from the main road. I don't know where I put that information and I've searched on the internet and haven't found anything. I just have been trying to think of something that could make the place productive in such a way as to help with the maintenance. Or a tax break or something. We've had to repair the garage roof that was sagging. We just updated a bit two bathrooms. Still, it isn't a farm to me unless you grow something. Something productive. I just dug out all of the drainage ditches on the lower tier and that seemed to make everything really grow. Before that, it was a bog. So yeah I just would love to have something be more farm like on the farm. Something to produce and sell. I had a whole area really going good and getting cleaned up earlier in the year hoping to plant a garden but as soon as I got as far as I could it rained like crazy for weeks then it was a full blown growth spurt and I can't keep up. My husband mows the lawn. He is not big into working outside and he has a tricky back so he has to be careful. The guy in front of us has a lot that he mows with a tractor and he raises about 4 or 5 beef per year but his lot is flat. So I am pretty much out of ideas. My husband has other priorities than fixing the fence, and I just keep trying to figure out how to get the property to produce something to help pay for the cost of keeping it up and also making it cooler. I think it would be neat to have a farm that actually produced something. I just have studied these nettles and would love to sell them but I am scared to try and harvest all of that myself. They hurt. I am up for ideas but the problem is I need a budget, and the heating for the year and repairs seems to eat any hope of that up.
 
Terry Moren
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I wrote garage when I meant garange, we have both. This old farm had the animal stalls connected to the hose. So the front of the house is a barn that has been tiled. The stalls are still there and it is open to the roof. Just a huge space. The pie-shaped grey-green looking pasture on the front or side is our neighbor's cattle pasture. Anyway, that is what it looks like.
 
Terry Moren
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google +
 
David Livingston
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Trying to make such a small place a "farm" in official eyes  I think will be a none starter frankly as you are too small plus the paper work for such a small return would be just plain sillly to be honest but that does not mean the land cannot help support you in your efforts other ways .
Check out the idea of " fait maison " to go with your B+B . Making your own jams is certainly doable black current and other soft fruits are easy to grow for example . You may even find some still growing under the weeds
I too live in an old place check out the link below . Would you like some other suggestions, I don't have time now but could write more tomorrow
 
David Livingston
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https://permies.com/t/31583/permaculture-projects/Permie-Pennies-France
 
Terry Moren
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Thank you! Yeah sure any ideas are good. Thanks for all of the response. I watched your music video, very cool. I am Irish and Scotish and Welsh and English and I've never been there. An old American family from way back starting in the Mayflower days. One place I would really like to see one day. Your property had a lot of work to do also, wow. This one was not quite as overgrown. It was pretty bad with the blackberries. I know I should love them but I don't like plants that hurt me. So far no currants. One old cherry tree we trimmed that didn't grow back. Two old apple trees that after the hail only one in a small part kept the flowers. Bees are cool, although I am a bit scared of that too. Anyway, thank you very very much for all of the advice. I checked out the fait de masion and that interesting too.  One thing I would like help on that I don't understand is how to post a photo here. I have jpg files and when I click on the image it says to give the web address? So I have to post the web and then use a URL. Can't I just use a jpg? Seems odd. Thanks for everything and if you have more ideas that would be great. Love that crazy cypress tree you trimmed I've never seen anything like that. Cheers! T
 
David Livingston
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Well I am not to sure how to help you with the pics maybe if you post a separate question in the tinkering forum most folks know more about computors  than I do . Probably some fish know more than me
Permies is a good place to ask questions 
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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