Back in action

Back in action

There has been a fall, a winter, and even a change of hour for summer time since last. The project of Neorigins has celebrated its’ first birthday (in march), we have started to sell our dried plants in a couple of new places, and now we are finally ready to take on the blog again. Welcome to follow us more regularly from now on!

This year the winter don’t seem to be entirely willing to let go. Here in the mountains of Auvergne it still makes me put on my long johns every morning, and not once I have even taken them of by midday yet. Furthermore it hailed this morning!

I think it’s great that we have had a real winter though. The cold cleans what needs to be frozen away in the ground, the frost exploses those soaked lumps of clay that we struggle to eliminate, and the snow has brought some well needed humidity as well.

That being said, the spring is more than welcome by now! The fact is that in matters of the vegetation, we are a whole month late compared to last year (the spring of 2017 being unusually warm on an early stage though). According to my dated notes from the wild-picking, I had both raspberry leaves and stinging nettle by this time last year, while these past two weeks I have been struggling even to find dandelion leaves !

Things start to slowly come around now though and I have good hope for all the seedlings hiding away in the greenhouses. I have waited and been starting of late this year, but since our greenhouses aren’t heated in any way, I prefer not to be too early. I still managed to sow cauliflower (in February) that waited indoors for too long, and ended up as tall, thin and pale. I finally restarted a new round yesterday.

We have also installed a whole new greenhouse which will be used as a nursery for replanting seedlings directly in the earth before final transplantation, and started the project of building a herb dryer. It will be a bussy spring!

Well, that was a small update to what’s going on around here. We’ll get more into details soon! Have a nice week everyone!

PS. For those in proximity of Ambert (63600), we will give a tasting of some of our infusions at the store “LE BIO SENS”, situated at 25 Rue de la Filètererie, tomorrow the 10 april, 15.00-18.00. Welcome!


Saturday’s festival

This passed Saturday, the festival close to the village of Berbezit combined great summery weather with interesting (and funny) inventions, a plant exchange, botanical walks and workshops, as well as a musical evening with a slightly sweaty atmosphere. With Neorigins we were present at the market, and also helped to prepare for the wild kitchen workshop.

Since the idea of the festival is to produce all electricity needed “by hand”, or should I say “by legs”, one of the funny inventions that seemed to make a great success with the visitors, was the bicycle-ice-cream-maker. Pedaling on a warm day = hot, making icecream in the same time = cool. All adding up in an ideal combination!


The ice-cream-maker in bicycle shape underneath the umbrella.

The late afternoon continued on the same theme, with a great wild food based meal where the visitors could choose from nettle-soup, various “wildly” garnished pizzas made in the wood stove, and chapatis with lots of fresh wild vegetable spreads.

The evening then offered a great act of improvisation theater and several bands playing music. And to keep the lights and the sound running everybody had to – yes you guessed right, contribute to produce the energy needed by pedaling on one of the numerous bikes around, or running in the giant hamster wheel that was also installed at the site. I guess the evening was getting better and better the later it became, given the occasional flickering in the lights and some cuts in the music in the beginning, but finishing with several full power concerts in the end!

It was an overall nice event and it is inspiring to see people getting together with such energy to share their great ideas. Let’s spread the vibe!

Natural toothpaste recipe

Did you know that the capacity of absorption of the oral mucosa is two times superior of that of the skin?

DentifriceYes, it’s true, and that is one of the reasons we should be careful about not only what we eat, but also about what we put in our mouths to then spit out. Many modern toothpastes contains doubtable ingredients like fluorine, whiteners of different origins, consistency agents and so on… A large number of these are not healthy to be exposed to in the long run, and the fact of using strong bacterial killing products like mouth flush often actually harms the important balance of oral bacteria more than anything.

Luckily – there’s numerous ways of making your own toothpaste with all natural, and often quite inexpensive, ingredients. That way you are not only sure about what it contains, but you also no longer contribute to spreading substances like triclosan into nature, and you don’t make waste since there is no need for throwing the empty package of the toothpaste tube.

Here comes one natural green clay-based toothpaste recipe that I like.

  • ½ teaspoon of green clay powder
  • 4 tablespoons of potato starch
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of plant powder (thyme for example)
  • A little water
  • 3-4 drops of peppermint oil

Mix all the dry ingredients in a small glass jar. Add water in small quantity (teaspoon by teaspoon) and blend until you reach the consistency you like. Finish with a few drops of peppermint oil. This mix doesn’t make a big quantity at a time, adapt it for the number of persons in your household. It can be kept for about two weeks, and if it tends to dry out on the end you can just ad some more water and repeat the blending.

To apply the toothpaste to my brush I use a little spoon to not put bacteria into the mix.

N.B. Remember to vary your paste with different base products. Even if it’s all natural, substances like clay, lemon and baking soda can alter the tooth enamel if used exclusively in the long run. Try excluding or including ingredients from time to time, or use coconut oil combined with plant powder like thyme or fennel to vary.

And then a thought on keeping a happy smile… Today, an increasing number of research is conducted on the human gut microbiota, that is, the complex community of microorganizms that live in the digestive tract. We begin to understand the important role that micro organisms play in our body, and that the bacteria present in our internal “eco-system” actually has an impact far beyond what we have imagined so far. Our behaviour and our mental health, as well as the function of the immune system, are all currently being intimately connected with the gut flora.

But the gut flora is only one part of the whole picture, and another part of the body containing about 600-700 species of bacteria on itself, is the mouth. We are not only constituted by genes, but also of small living organisms within our own organism. Their role being to contribute to the metabolism of diverse nutriments and vitamins, we couldn’t live without them. So if you choose to make your own toothpaste or not, think about what you put into your mouth to take care of those precious fellows to keep your happy smile!

Source of base recipe: Je fabrique mes produits ménagers, Laetitia Royant

Neorigins’ first market

P1030952It was with great pleasure and a lot of enthusiasm that Neorigins met the people for the first time, at the event of “Ça Pousse à Grandrif” (Plant Exchange in our home village), this passed Sunday. We couldn’t have imagined a better start, with loads of interesting exchange, great curiosity regarding our future plans, and a warm welcome from the visitors.

It’s really great to see that people are turning their attention back to nature. Many discovered Chaga for the first time, as we offered to taste the decoction throughout the day. Besides Chaga, we also brought the other dried plants available at the moment.

  • Blackberry (Ronce)
  • Blackcurrant (Cassissier)
  • Dandelion (Pissenlit)
  • Scots Pine (Pin Sylvestre)
  • Stinging Nettle (Ortie)
  • Raspberry (Framboisier)

At three o’clock pm everybody was invited to take part of a free wild plant walk, offered by Denise Médoux-Régnier. What a great woman!! She is a self-thaught wild picker who has gathered knowledge about edible plants since about 35 years now, and she couldn’t be more happy to share and inspire. From not having much money she has grown a great interest in wild cooking, and at this occasion we were about 25 people taking off from the village in her company. I ( Therese) was happy to be able to add a few pieces of information concerning the medicinal properties of some of the plants we found, and I think the whole walk was very appreciated by the participants as well as by Denise and me.

Together with Denise, we had also prepared pots with wild plants for people to introduce into their garden. This way it’s simple to study the plants in question at all stages of their life cycle, and it becomes easier to identify them in nature. At the end of the wild walk quite a few persons found this a nice idea and brought some wild plants home with them.

Besides sharing around plants and greens it was also an occasion to just enjoy the nice vibe of the village of Grandrif (that we are lucky enough to live near by). Sun, smiles, live music, home made pizzas and crêpes were all the ingredients besides the greens that made this a super good day. I have even already almost forgot about the wind that wanted to sweep away with what we had on the tables! With such a good atmosphere what is a little wind?

Already looking forward to next time!