Sainte-Anne watercress beds
Gâtinais Français Regional Natural Park, Essonne, Île-de-France
Watercress is traditionally grown in the valleys of the Gâtinais Français region. In Vayres- sur-Essonne, the Sainte-Anne watercress beds are among the oldest in France, created in 1856 and bought by Mikaël Morizot’s family in 1984. The organic “green gold” which is produced under the “Valeurs Parc” brand can be enjoyed from September to May.
© Marie-Lys Hagenmüller - Arelys Photos
Watercress is traditionally grown in the valleys of the Gâtinais Natural Park. The Sainte-Anne watercress beds were to first to be established in 1856, in Vayres-sur-Essonne. Subsequently, in the 19th and 20th centuries, many other watercress beds were created across the valleys. Today, Essonne is home to nearly 25 watercress growers. Water, from springs or artesian wells, is essential to the farmers, as it its preservation. Watercress beds constitute a striking landscape feature, offering unique high-quality views of longitudinal basins that call to mind rice paddies. The Sainte-Anne watercress bed is still being farmed. Mikaël Morizot belongs to the fourth generation of watercress growers in his family, and produces organic watercress sold under the brand Valeurs Parc, which can be found from September to May. Contributing both to living natural heritage and intangible culinary heritage, with an annual yield of 1,300 tonnes, Essonne’s watercress cultivation is here to stay.