Once a marshland Le Grand Marais of Seeland created by farmers more than twenty years ago is located in the Three lakes regions of Murten, Neuchâtel and Biel-Bienne. The area has a humus-rich soil especially good for growing vegetables. It is one of the largest vegetable garden in Switzerland operated by the Union maraîchère suisse (UMS) as well as the farmers associations of the cantons of Berne and Fribourg ( GVBF) More than 40 variety of vegetables labelled Suisse garantie mainly for local consumption are cultivated by local farmers who regularly supply to Migros and other outlets. Below an image of various cabbages and lettuces neatly arranged in rows.
Brussel sprouts among the most important cultivated in Seeland …
A fun way to explore the garden is either to walk or cycle through the lovely paths while discovering the different seasonal vegetables. Open from May to mid October, there are two cycling itineraries, a short 24 km (green sign) half day trip around the path or a more in depth full day itinerary (red sign), a 45 km circuit between Chiètres (Kerzers) and Anet with more scholarly signboards explaining each of the different variety of vegetables. Hikers can follow the green signs where train stations can be found along the way, 6km hike from Chiètres to Monsmier or 11km walk from Chiètres to Anet. Farmers might be seen working quite frequently in the field uploading vegetables in trucks or meeting fellow cyclists along the path. Top star fresh vegetables consumed in Switzerland are tomatoes, carrots, onions, salads, leeks. Among other seasonal vegetables the garden produces leeks, cabbages, various lettuces, brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots… The meandering paths through the vegetable fields are well signposted and bikes may be rented from the train station where you can start either from Chiètres or Anet.
Signboards along the vegetable path …
A map can be quite handy when venturing into the delightful vegetable garden while discovering the various seasonal vegetables.
“Tomatoes are most popular in Switzerland “says Pascal Gutknecht. The young entrepreneur farmer who began his farmland with two other partners in 2003. Today it is one of the largest in Kerzers with more than 40 ha of cultivated vegetables labelled Suisse Garantie – a non GMO and environmentally friendly. His lovely farm shop offering his own and regional products opens up to a green house where he grows eight varieties of tomatoes. The plants are arranged in rows with long cylindrical tubes placed below filled with organic coconut husk ash used as mineral fertilizer.