I was greatly saddened a couple of days ago to learn of the passing of an old friend, M. Gary.
Herve Gary was a local farmer and I often turned to him to help me along as I struggled to merge my habits from gardening in the United Kingdom into those needed to grow vegetables in rural south west France.
I first met M. Gary just a few weeks after I moved here back in 2004 and over the years he gave me a tremendous amount of help and support. I often visited his farm, which is just along the road a little, and marvelled at his whole approach to a very simplistic way of farming with his dog and chickens roaming unhindered in his yard. I remember going there one day to collect some eggs. As I approached I saw M. Gary’s head peering out of a deep hole. He explained that he was setting up a new kitchen garden, nearer to the farmhouse and the hole was to bury compost to enrich the soil
Most people would, today, recognise his methods as “organic” although, when I once chatted to Herve about this he brushed aside the label “Organic” saying that he didn’t “do organic farming” as there were far too many rules and restrictions. However, when I then asked if he used any chemicals on his farm, he simply asked me why he would need to buy chemicals when he produced everything he needed for the land.
I often used to see him tilling the land on a field across the road using just a hoe. He would be toiling away in the heat of midday wearing his trade mark cap
M Gary was 91 this year and continued to farm up until a few weeks ago when he fell ill.
I have many happy memories of Herve and will miss him a great deal. I really regret not having a photo of him.