Everywhere you see, spring is blooming. As we bid winter goodbye with cheerful spring flowers, many people start working on their garden again, growing flowers, or even fruit and vegetables for the coming summer. Midiflore, a company located in the south of France, has combined these two and taken growing to a higher level. On their forty fields of greenhouses and seven open fields, they grow edible flowers and aromatic herbs to add beauty and nutrients to consumer’s dishes.
“Edible flowers add so much to the dish, not only on a gastronomic or decorative level but also in terms of vitamins. There are many health benefits to eating flowers,” states Sylvie Recouvrot, manager with Midiflore. On their fields in Hyères, close to Marseille, over 50 species of aromatic herbs and edible flowers are grown, such as basil, chives, parsley, pansy and zucchini flowers. “We harvest by hand, with respect for the plants. This way, the vulnerable flowers are not damaged in the process. We can guarantee a clean and healthy product,” she says.
Production is divided over the forty cultivated fields in the greenhouse, as well as 7 hectare of open field production. "It depends on the species and the production seasons: in winter we favor greenhouses and shade houses and in summer we plant in the open field."
Before the pandemic, the main market for their produce were food wholesalers. Since the closing of restaurants, the company has been looking into more consumer-oriented products such as garlic and decorative flowers.
Apart from adapting their product line to consumers’ wishes, Sylvie notes that the demands for sustainability have also increased. “With the evolution of packaging regulations in France, we had to come up with a new sustainable way to package our products. This was another step in environmental friendly production processing, as we were already working with solar energy.
“There is plenty of opportunities to grow the edible flowers market by educating consumers on how to use them. People think of edible flowers as decoration only, without realizing they add a lot to the taste of food they are preparing. Besides, there are so many health benefits to it.”