Revealing the terroir’s potential, tending to it, respecting it
Our expertise in growing fruit trees
The excellence of Domaine Bayard fruits cannot be attributed to the climate, sun’s exposure and soil alone – the expertise of our men and women is also essential. We rely on this expertise to manage the richness in natural resources of our 250-hectare unsegmented, orchard located in the La Crau flood plain. This is the Durance fossil delta filled with pebbles carried down from the Alps over five million years. The Durance riverbed changed course 18,000 years ago and its delta dried up, creating a semi-arid steppe called the ‘Coussoul’ .
The recipe for delicious fruits
Unequalled exposure to the sunLike an oasis, our orchard draws all the minerals it needs from the terroir to create delicious flavours. Our orchard is treated as a whole system, so we can see the entire picture, pay minute attention to the health of each plot and organise more efficiently. With its significant exposure to the sun, the Plaine de la Crau’s typical climate is perfectly suited to growing peaches, nectarines and apricots. The hot and dry summers mean that the fruit is beautifully sun-kissed, which limits the appearance of fungal diseases. The regular southern mistral winds from the Rhône valley also help keep the orchard healthy. The winters are cold but not harsh – perfect for our varieties. There is little risk of frost in spring.
The perfect locationOur production site is located deep in the Natura 2000 nature protection areas. This network of natural sites was created to protect threatened species and habitats in Europe, as part of a comprehensive approach to sustainable development. It is a way of combining human activity and natural habitat protection to tackle global and local environmental challenges. Our orchard fits perfectly into this approach.
Listening to our treesWe fertilise the orchard every day during the summer months. Very small quantities are mixed with the irrigation water each day to give the trees what they need. This strategy means there is no leaching because the tree roots take up all the nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium provided.
Respecting the fruit – The harvestHarvesting begins when the fruit is perfectly ripe. This is when flavours are well-developed and the fruits have just the right firmness and balance between sweetness and acidity. Each plot is hand-picked six to eight times, ensuring that all the fruits are harvested at maturity, when they are most flavourful and the have the best quality.
Effective packagingOur focus on excellence extends from the orchard into our packaging. Our fruits are sorted by hand and each batch is checked for quality.
Mastering flavour also requires being able to measure and describe it. Each batch is analysed in our dedicated laboratory which is kitted out with the automatic ‘Pimprenelle’ fruit sorter.
Giving the trees what they needWe use responsible drip irrigation, providing just enough water to meet the crop’s needs. The quantities are constantly readjusted based on the tree’s growth stage (flowering, fruit setting, fruit development, fruit maturity, post-harvest) and the climate (temperature, wind, potential evaporation, rain, etc.). Capacitive sensors are located throughout our orchard so that we can fine-tune quantities.
An exacting teamOur team of professionals put their skills and expertise to work for the terroir.
Choosing the right varietyGrowing high-quality, tasty fruit begins with choosing the right variety, together with plant breeders who share our values. Year-round, our crop manager and his team work each day to maintain the orchard, helping it to produce the best fruits, without causing excessive yields.
‘We opt for quality over quantity in our production’
To meet our objectives, we grow more than 50 varieties of peaches and nectarines. We use our significant knowledge of the varieties to optimise fruit quality by leaving a defined number of fruits on each tree. Excellence does not come about by chance, it comes through combining experience, expertise and constant review of our work.
PruningWe do not use machines to prune in winter and summer, or to thin out the flowers and fruits. Everything is done by hand to better control the quality of the branches and the position of the fruits on the tree.
The cut branches and the grass from between the trees are shredded on site, which means we can maintain and constantly improve the top layer of soil. This protects it from settling and it becomes more fertile year after year. Summer pruning, or leaf removal, takes place throughout the season so that the sun reaches the middle of the trees, making sure fruits receive the perfect amount of sun during the harvesting period.