The Things You Learn on Holidays

Sunflowers always make me happy. Their happy sunny faces cheer me up on even the most blah of days.

It’s common to see them in the florist department at our local supermarkets, sold by single stalk or in bunches of 3. They’re the perfect pick-me-up to Vancouver’s often rainy weather and they’ve always been very popular.

So imagine my shock and horror when we came across fields of dead and shriveled sunflowers in the Dordogne region of France.

“What’s with the shriveled crops?”
“GASP! They’re sunflowers!!”

Could it be true? Are there worse gardeners than me out there? Not to be dramatic or anything but..

Sunflower murder = punishable by guillotine!

But wait! There had to be some sort of explanation. Our experience with the region tells me that nothing goes to waste. Surely fields of dead sunflowers must be intentional?

Hmm.

After thinking about it I came to the conclusion that maybe they were grown for the seeds. Yes, that must be it!

That night I asked the owner of our farm B&B, feeling rather smart and expecting him to confirm my suspicions.

Nope.

In true Dordogne style, the sunflowers are grown – and then chopped down – to make feed for the local animals.

Ahh, okay!

Sure enough, the next day as we drove down the same road, we saw that the fields had been mowed down with everything off to make some local animals very happy.

I’m sorry French farmer for ever doubting your skills. You see, I’m a simple city girl.

Can we still be friends?

– Marla

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