Domaine de Merchien. It's harvest time here in France and the rows upon rows of crops in fields are being cut down by hand or by machines, and vineyards in the region are calling upon help for the yearly vendange or grape harvest.
We did a little picking on the Saturday and took the boys along with us. The weather was kind as the sun shone, and the team of us snipped away at what grapes we could find, filling buckets until they were overflowing and handing them over to the tractor weaving it's way through the vines. The boys, being as young as they are, got bored pretty quickly. Too little to handle a pair of shears they watched mummy and daddy and helped tip the grapes into larger containers. They were treated however to their first proper tractor ride which they both absolutely loved!
As we arrived late on the Saturday we felt we hadn't earned our lunch, which is why I returned the following day in the rain. I dug my waterproofs out from the loft and had wellies at the ready, but luckily the rain held off for most of the day and the sun made an appearance at lunch. We started at 8.30am and picked till gone 2pm. A much needed coffee break with so many different cakes kept us going until lunch was ready.
And what a feast we were rewarded with for all our hard work! Soups to warm our cold aching bodies, salad with cous cous, chicken and ham pie (so delicious!) sausages in cider with mash and green beans. Then the puddings! I couldn't see much past the two big pavlovas with kiwi and chocolate! But there was also bread and butter pudding with custard and more cakes. All this washed down with wine from grapes picked in previous years and beer also made and sold on site.
We'll be back next year and hopefully the boys can get a bit more stuck in. if you fancy trying some of Domaine de Merchien's wine or beers you can find them at local markets throughout the year or visit their vineyard. Check out their website for more details!
You can find more pictures of the harvest over on our Facebook page.