The Hortomnales

The Saint Remy la Varenne Priory Hortomnales

Did you say Hortomnales? This not-so-easy pronunciation name come from Latin hortus (garden) and could be translated as ‘Autumn garden’.

The 27th and 28th October 2018 will be the 29th Hortomnales! Come on as numerous as possible!

Strange cucurbit grew in Saint Remy la Varenne, and you will discover all of their shapes and colours during this great party. Come with your family and enjoy the Priory adorned of autumnal colours: magical scenes, cucurbit market, local handmade market, fanfare, children activities, cucurbit sculpture, refreshment stall and food, cucurbit special food… Discover and enjoy the cucurbit magical!

The Priory association has been created when the municipal corporation bought the building and its park, but restoration is pressing.

By serendipity, the idea of an ambitious cucurbit event was proposed. And so, the first Hortomnales opened during the 1989 autumn. The aim was reached: the novelty attracted people and put the Priory under the spotlight. Sponsors were won over, and the restoration works can begin.

Since 1989, every year, volunteers put up the challenge to crop a vast diversity of cucurbit close to the Priory. According to fields lend by farmers supporting us, cucurbits are cultivated in Saint Remy la Varenne or a surrounding village.

The Hortomnales in few figures:

  • 8707 visitors in 2017
  • More than 200 volunteers warmly welcome you during the two days of the party
  • More than 110 cucurbit cultivars cultivated by volunteers
  • A hundred or so cultivars for the cucurbit market
  • Some unusual recipes to discover and enjoy cucurbits
  • More than 60 local craft worker exhibitors
  • Five catering sites linked to cucurbits

Each year a giant cucurbit is exposed to a weight contest!

You want to take part in the Hortomnales as an exhibitor? Find requirement and information on the 2018 pre-booking form.

The Hortomnales in the press

The Hortomnales memories

Discover the Hortomnales trough photos of past years.

Cucurbit crop

The Prioress Association crops by itself all of the cucurbit cultivars you can enjoy during the Hortomnales.
In the two hectares field, more than 6,000 cucurbit plants grow quietly.

From seed to fruit…

We chose seeds from organic farming, as much as possible to local suppliers. ‘Nimble fingers’ drop one seed by clod in sewing boxes. Vilmorin let us use their warm greenhouses for this crucial step.
When plants are tall enough, boxes are carried up to the field, and balled plants are dispatched over the biodegradable plastic, ready to be planted out (in May).
Young cucurbit plants are planted out and watered then exposed to weather caprices! After few month fruits are ready for the harvest! They are hand cut, grouped together by cultivar then bring to the Prioress.

The Hortomnales’s preparation: drawing up the party!

The Hortomnales are the result of a full year of effort for this large-scale party. A week before the party, the Prioress become a ‘beehive’, every voluntary knows what he has to do. Put up big tops, cooking and dressing cucurbit specialities, organising the cucurbit market, creating wonderful décor, drawing the car parks, managing stocks…

Both association’s organisers are mobilised, and they need to be totipotent, even driving tractors! Everyone complementarity makes each one feel useful. A setting up in a lovely atmosphere, a touch of stress (everyone looks after weather forecasts!) and the global happiness of the moment make this event eagerly expected by each volunteer, all generation mixed up. Everybody knows the Hortomnales will be a dream-weekend for all visitors!