Winter has arrived on Brittany’s northwest coast and with it our delicious cauliflowers, along with other vegetables! To learn more about cauliflower production, we met with grower Catherine Caignard in Sibiril, less than 5km from Pouliquen’s Finistère headquarters.
A vegetable harvested by hand with care
The height of cauliflower season is in December, when the cool, wet weather creates the perfect conditions for growing white, heavy cauliflowers with densely-packed florets. In 2020, Catherine and her team harvested 600,000 heads of cauliflower on the farm, for an average of 8,400 heads per hectare.
Although cauliflower is planted by machine, the harvest is carried out entirely by hand. Every head is checked before being cut, and only ready-to-eat cauliflowers are harvested. The vegetables are packed in the field before being sent to the new Prince de Bretagne facility in Vilar Gren, Finistère, where they are unloaded and checked before being shipped.
Guaranteeing cauliflower freshness
In order to offer the highest-quality products, Prince de Bretagne partner growers announce the volume of vegetables they will be able to harvest one day prior to their sale. This allows vegetables—including cauliflowers—to be harvested only a few hours before they are shipped to our customers. This relationship of trust between the growers, Prince de Bretagne and Pouliquen enables us to respond to customer needs in terms of both the quantity and quality of the fresh vegetables we bring to the market.
A cauliflower for every season
On Catherine Caignard’s farm, cauliflower planting begins around July 14th and usually wraps up around the middle of August. A one-week gap in summer planting results in a month of difference in the winter and spring cauliflower harvest. Other farms prefer to plant either earlier or later. This variation in planting schedules and the range of varieties planted means that cauliflower can be harvested year-round.
Besides a difference in when they are ready to be harvested, different varieties possess their own characteristic flavours. Early cauliflowers harvested in September are the tenderest, while those harvested in March and April have the strongest flavour. Throughout the year, everyone can find the type of cauliflower they enjoy the most.
A father-to-daughter farming tradition
Like many Breton farms, Catherine’s is a family business. Both her grandparents and parents farmed in the Léon region of northern Finistère. Specialised in growing lamb’s lettuce and cauliflower, the farm has 4 partners: Catherine, her father (who will retire at the end of December), her cousin Arnaud Guillerm, and Jean-Jacques Quemeneur, whose parents also farmed in the area. The farm also employs eight permanent staff and 20 seasonal workers.
Local growers: a Pouliquen priority
Click on the links below to learn more about our cauliflower range: