Thanks to its unique soil, the Var has numerous farmers, representing different industries. Of course, there are the delicious staples, such as figs, honey, nougat, wine, olive oil, chestnuts and truffles, but also cheese, orchids, saffron and spirulina…
Far from the tourist images of the coast, the Var is an agricultural region with many small farms. Its varied and fertile soil have allowed many industries to thrive.
The Var’s biggest, world-leading industries include wine of course (especially rosé), as well as olive oil, figs, honey, chestnut and truffles, and cut flowers (mimosa, Vacherot orchids and many other varieties). The Var also rears livestock, to produce delicious cheeses, as well as saffron (largely in Dracénie and the Verdon), spirulina, fruit and vegetables, and Provençal cane used to make reeds, which are exported across the world.
Truffles and chestnuts
Both of these plants are significant in the culture, economy and tradition of the Var, with truffles being largely found in the north, in the Verdon, whilst chestnuts grow in the Maures Massif to the south.
The black truffle, a real fragrant diamond, incites pleasure and enchantment. This black pearl, the ‘Tuber Melanosporum’, has made the Haut-Var its favourite haunt and is harvested from November to March. Aups, (the Var truffle capital), is home to the Maison de la Truffe, and also holds a truffle market on Thursday mornings in winter and organises a Truffle Day in January. Some truffle patches also offer truffle hunting sessions.
Var chestnuts are famous for their delicious taste. They are largely sold for direct consumption, i.e. fresh or grilled, or as a purée. In October, the villages of the Maures Massif and plains celebrate the chestnut, Collobrières, the famous chestnut capital.
Local farmers’ markets
Traditionally welcoming, varied, colourful and friendly, these markers bring together the best local produce direct from the farm or products from artisan workshops. They are a showcase of traditional skills from each ‘country’, of the wealth and diversity of production.
The producers are committed to a charter of good practice, guaranteeing to the consumer excellent, seasonal produce, high-quality production and processing processes and transparent agricultural practices.
In the small markets, you can buy directly from the farmers, whilst tasting high-quality produce. Markets are held throughout the year in Toulon and Le Pradet, whilst various other villages have seasonal markets.