Monday, December 22, 2014

Building Terroir to Impart Flavor and Place to Your Garden by Pete Biggam

The French have an old expression that relates the taste of an agricultural product to the place in which it was grown: gout de terroir, or terroir (Tare-wahr

Terroir is both a geographic area with specific soil and climate characteristics that also portrays a legacy steeped in traditions of agricultural practices and crop production that is a reflection of the people that work its land. 

Making the most of one’s land is the common goal of farmers and gardeners and is the heart of the notion of terroir, and relates back to “a sense and taste of place”.

Most of us have heard it as a term relating to the various environmental conditions of the vineyard, the nutrients of the soil, the local climatic factors, the slope of the land, or even the traditional practices used to select the grape varieties and harvesting techniques used and the taste these can impart to the wine grown there. 

But the concepts of terroir are by no means limited to vineyards and winemaking. Our gardens here in Colorado have it as well. 

If you garden (or even if you only eat what your neighbors have grown), you have experienced terroir. Many gardeners have noticed how much better their own freshly picked produce tastes than store bought.  There are few things better than a sun-ripened, juicy tomato fresh off the vine or a sweet strawberry picked first thing in the morning.  That is terroir.