The tomato under her skin

By Camille FratiLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

For almost ten years, Sandrine Pingeon has been offering her customers - and teaching them to love - her fruit and vegetables from little-known varieties grown without chemicals. Meet this biodiversity enthusiast, who runs her small business against all odds with the sole aim of bringing taste back to our plates.

August 2021. The sun is finally shining on the Luxembourg countryside, relaxing Sandrine Pingeon's features. It has been a long time coming. A glance over the plastic greenhouses of the "garden", as she calls it, is enough to understand her anxious expression. Like all budding gardeners, she has seen her crops suffer from late frosts, a rainy summer and no sunshine. "We protected the tomatoes we planted in April by putting up posts with sails until the ice saints (mid-May)", she explains. "We opened the sails when it was hot to limit humidity, and closed them again when frost threatened. It's a lot of work."

Planted a month earlier than usual, the tomatoes are a month late. The hot-cold cocktail, by bringing out the humidity, has favoured diseases and every day Sandrine's team checks each tomato plant to prune it if necessary and pull it out if it is too late. "I still consider myself lucky because some cultivators have nothing left." Cucumbers have also suffered. And the fruits that need warmth – melons, watermelons – have not enjoyed the long summer without sun.

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