August 8, 2011

the majestic magical sunflowers

Standing in the field of sunflowers in Upton Quebec I felt like I was being watched. Those big bright freaky heads gently swaying as if ready to say something. This was not LSD, just something about sunflowers...

Christian Champigny, owner of la ferme Champy, was traveling down from Madrid into Portugal. Along the way they passed a field of sunflowers and was awestruck by the intense beauty of it. A decision was made. He would move away from corn, soya, and cereals and concentrate more on sunflowers, especially oil. His farm was certified organic in 1996, and the first bottle of first cold pressed oil came out in 2000. 500 liters. Today? 10,000 liters. They press their oil about every 3 weeks, so one can be assured to have intense, fresh oil every time. With this option, and a fierce local movement, olive oil, although incredible, has become less necessary in our kitchen.

Funny, that a plant that is native to the Americas, will almost always conjure images of Italy and Spain. I do remember one of the saddest things that I ever saw was a field of lackluster, wilted sunflowers while traveling through Tuscany, but now standing in the field in Upton, I realized that my association has been altered, back to the new world by the hard and passionate work of Christian Champigny. Grazie.

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