Basque Grand Roux Corn

France

Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes

Cereals and flours

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Basque Grand Roux Corn

Native to the Basque Country and also known there as Arto Gorria, Grand Roux corn has a long and unusual history. The variety began to spread through the northern regions of the zone during the 16th century, becoming a staple in the local diet and culture of the rural Basque populations. Often grown intercropped with beans, it was used to feed animals and in cornbread, a polenta-like porridge and talo (in the absence of ovens for baking bread up in the mountains, the shepherds would cook these round, unleavened flatbreads directly over the embers).
After being almost completely abandoned at the start of the 20th century, when the local farmers began sowing more productive American varieties, Grand Roux corn reappeared in the French Basque Country in the 1990s. The story goes that in the early ’90s a farmer found the corn growing in a convent in the southern Basque Country (i.e. Spain), carried a few ears home with him in his beret and began cultivating the variety. Gradually it spread around the countryside and other Basque Grand Roux seeds, long preserved by elderly farmers in their small plots, began to be exchanged again.
Growers have been cultivating the variety ever since, carefully reproducing the seeds. The corn is appreciated for its excellent sensory qualities. The ears are still many different colors—yellow, red, orange, brown—because the selection necessary to obtain pure seeds is still underway. This lengthy process will require several more years before it is completed. Ground into cornmeal, Grand Roux is used in many dishes. Recently, with the rise of food intolerances, this corn has also begun to be used to make gluten-free products.

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The Presidium wants to unite all the producers who are still cultivating this symbol of Basque culture and to promote authentic Grand Roux corn on the local market. The Presidium will also work to attract new growers and to create an association to protect the production of this historic variety. The region’s cooks will play a fundamental role in this promotion process, raising the corn’s profile and helping the small organic farms (the production protocol bans the use of pesticides and synthetic chemicals) who still cultivate the variety to find new markets.

Production area
Pyrénées-Atlantiques department, Aquitaine region, northern Basque Country

Presidium supported by
European Leader and Feader projects, Aquitaine Regional Authority, Department of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Arrapitz association
Jon Harlouchet,
Jaitia
Bussunarits
tel. +33 559373704
jaite@wanadoo.fr

Dominique Harlouchet
Gainekotxea Bonioc
tel. +33 632548105
dominique.harlouchet@orange.fr

Christian Aguerre
Itxassou
tel. +33 559939243
aguerre.christian@wanadoo.fr

Erramun Elichiry
Beguios
tel.: +33 559658347
erramun.elichiry@wanadoo.fr

Philippe Irazoki
Lantabat
tel.: +33 683434144
biolangerie@live.fr

Stéphane Michelena
Espelette
tel.: +33 618808489
efanfan@orange.fr

Jean Michel Iribarne
Jaxu
tel.: +33 559373705
iribarnejean-michel@neuf.fr

Panpi Olaizola e Leire Ithurralde
Espelette
tel.: +33 559529802
mendiak@neuf.fr

Sylvain Aime
La Bastide Clairence
tel.: +33 620227634
aime.sylvain@orange.fr

Chantal Orhatégaray
Larressore
tel.: +33 614129568
orhategaraychantal@gmail.com

Elena Aguerre SCIC GARRO
Lekorne
tel.: +33 670182640
garro@live.fr

Jean Claude Aguerre
Pagolle
tel.: +33 559093991
jc.ager@hotmail.fr

Xabi Irigoyen
Briscous
tel.: +33 559317131
irigoyen.xabi@orange.fr

David Gonzales
Urrugne
tel.: +33 559543099
bordako@orange.fr

Jean-Michel Urruty
Armendarits
tel.: +33 559377469
xotildeia@gmail.com

Iñaki Berhocoirigoin
Gamarthe
tel.: +33 559491973
inakiberroko@yahoo.fr
Presidium coordinator

Jon Harlouchet
Association BLE - Ostabat
tel. +33 559372545
ble-arrapitz@wanadoo.fr
The Presidium wants to unite all the producers who are still cultivating this symbol of Basque culture and to promote authentic Grand Roux corn on the local market. The Presidium will also work to attract new growers and to create an association to protect the production of this historic variety. The region’s cooks will play a fundamental role in this promotion process, raising the corn’s profile and helping the small organic farms (the production protocol bans the use of pesticides and synthetic chemicals) who still cultivate the variety to find new markets.

Production area
Pyrénées-Atlantiques department, Aquitaine region, northern Basque Country

Presidium supported by
European Leader and Feader projects, Aquitaine Regional Authority, Department of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Arrapitz association
Jon Harlouchet,
Jaitia
Bussunarits
tel. +33 559373704
jaite@wanadoo.fr

Dominique Harlouchet
Gainekotxea Bonioc
tel. +33 632548105
dominique.harlouchet@orange.fr

Christian Aguerre
Itxassou
tel. +33 559939243
aguerre.christian@wanadoo.fr

Erramun Elichiry
Beguios
tel.: +33 559658347
erramun.elichiry@wanadoo.fr

Philippe Irazoki
Lantabat
tel.: +33 683434144
biolangerie@live.fr

Stéphane Michelena
Espelette
tel.: +33 618808489
efanfan@orange.fr

Jean Michel Iribarne
Jaxu
tel.: +33 559373705
iribarnejean-michel@neuf.fr

Panpi Olaizola e Leire Ithurralde
Espelette
tel.: +33 559529802
mendiak@neuf.fr

Sylvain Aime
La Bastide Clairence
tel.: +33 620227634
aime.sylvain@orange.fr

Chantal Orhatégaray
Larressore
tel.: +33 614129568
orhategaraychantal@gmail.com

Elena Aguerre SCIC GARRO
Lekorne
tel.: +33 670182640
garro@live.fr

Jean Claude Aguerre
Pagolle
tel.: +33 559093991
jc.ager@hotmail.fr

Xabi Irigoyen
Briscous
tel.: +33 559317131
irigoyen.xabi@orange.fr

David Gonzales
Urrugne
tel.: +33 559543099
bordako@orange.fr

Jean-Michel Urruty
Armendarits
tel.: +33 559377469
xotildeia@gmail.com

Iñaki Berhocoirigoin
Gamarthe
tel.: +33 559491973
inakiberroko@yahoo.fr
Presidium coordinator

Jon Harlouchet
Association BLE - Ostabat
tel. +33 559372545
ble-arrapitz@wanadoo.fr

Other info

CategoriesCereals and flours