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Buds in stock

18 April 2024

In the La Chênaie family, I ask for the bud! And not just any bud, not just any time. A sessile oak bud, harvested in the Bertranges forest, just as nature’s buds are opening.


Seven days. That’s how long it took David and his team, David and Florian, to collect 4 kilos of buds needed to make the PETRAGEMMA® products range for the coming year. Six days of collecting and sorting. “Nature makes the rules. We don’t have much time to collect the buds. Two weeks at most. The buds used in PETRAGEMMA® extract must be open, but not too open. They must be neither stained nor damaged, neither too young nor too old.


On the lookout !

For several weeks now, David and his team have been scouring the forest, from plot to plot, scanning branches along forest edges in search of buds. “Some plots are earlier than others. Roadside oaks, for example, are more exposed to light, and are the first to bud. Besides, you can’t drive your car into the forest, as it’s still wet and greasy. We have to preserve soil”. The light turned green on Easter weekend. The collection can begin. Using a weeder, David removes branches from mature oak trees. We harvest from mature trees,” he says, “so there’s no trauma to the oak and no effect on its growth or health. What’s more, we do this with the agreement of ONF. The tallest branches have the most buds. You have to keep an eye on them, and make sure you don’t take branches whose buds can’t be used. On either side of the road to the Reserve, Florian scouts ahead while David loads the branches into the truck for transport to Murlin. A team effort.


The ideal bud

” In general, we harvest during the morning and sort during the afternoon. We don’t want the buds to wilt, so we have to move fast. It’s tedious work. One by one, by hand, we have to disbud the branches, sort the buds, keeping only the ones that correspond to specifications, and focus on the oak’s substance, on the ideal bud. Each to his own branches, each to his own tray. On this Saturday morning, April 6, the last day of collecting and sorting, the aim is to collect 700 grams of buds. Aurélie and Amandine took charge of the three kilos already sorted at Laboratoire Exact. “We carry out an initial visual inspection of the harvest and calculate their dry matter content. The buds are then stored in the freezer. It took two and a half hours to complete the harvest. Two and a half hours detailing the buds one by one, almost never daring to take stock of the quantity already sorted. We estimate at a guess. But buds don’t weigh much. When it’s time to weigh them, everyone holds their breath, eyes glued to the scales. The goal is reached, exceeded even, with 800 grams of buds.


On demand

However, the work isn’t over yet. “We extract bud compounds on demand,” explains Aurélie, who has just frozen the fruit from the last harvest. “Once thawed, they are dried and analyzed. Then, rather like an infusion, the buds are immersed in a 100% natural solution to reveal their active ingredients, which are then extracted and analyzed once again before being sent to the shapers to make creams and other skincare products in the PETRAGEMMA® products range”. Precision work that leaves no room for error or uncertainty.


Written by: Stéphane Ebel

Photo © Christophe Deschanel

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