THE Sunday market at Cazals, in the Lot, is a feast of colour and sounds, but one stall in particular sparkles.
Jars of golden honey catch the morning sun, and scarves, gloves and balls of wool in deep purples, warm oranges and bold blues draw passers-by to the stall of Anne Chuillet and Michel Magne.
After leaving the town life of La Rochelle, and established positions in education and psychology, the couple looked at ways to make a small agricultural business pay, with the appeal of bee keeping coming after Michel read a yellowed, dog-eared book on the subject.
The couple undertook agricultural training, and gained experience of working with a local bee keeper and on a goat farm, before outlining their business plan and looking to establish a small plot of land to start producing honey.
Peche de l’abeille is that plot, found not far from Les Arques and the Zadkine Museum, up a steep winding path, offering views across the valley, their property consists of around a hundred bee hives and 30 or so Angora goats.
Honey production is undertaken on the farm, with the honeycombs taken from the hives, placed in a drum and through centrifugal force the honey is collected and piped out into jars for labelling, as well as used as the base for other products.
The wool off the backs of the Angora goats requires many hours preparation cleaning out bits of grass and twigs, before it is sent off via a collective to Italy where it is processed into mohair and then sent to knitters in France to produce a variety of items such as gloves and scarves.
The couple have a strong bond and connection with their work, it produces little in profit and they both hold down other part-time positions, but they have plans for Peche de l’abeille.
Their workshop is slowly expanding and it is hoped that visitors and school children will be able to find out more about the production of honey and care of the goats, ensuring people stay in touch with the natural world around them.
Au Peche de l’abeille, 46250 Les Arques, 05 65 21 47 10
Last Updated on 8 July, 2023.