In a greenhouse near Nice, in the south of France, edible flowers are the star of the show. Scientists are ranking various varieties according to certain characteristics such as taste.
The ANTEA project is a cross-border initiative between France and Italy supported by the EU Cohesion Policy. The policy aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion by reducing disparities in the level of development between regions. Here it aims to strengthen the emerging edible flower sector. Edible flowers are a very fragile product with a short-life span. Scientists are looking at different ways of conserving this product including cold storage in fridges or drying the flowers with either solar or electric driers.
With the floriculture sector in crisis, flower producers like Marco Ravera are looking at ways to expand their business. He has dedicated 15% of his organic farm to edible flowers.
"We are integrated into the ANTEA project and we reproduce all the experiments that have been carried out in the laboratory," he explains. "We test them on the farm all year round, depending on the season."
He is currently working on begonias and violets and the impact of LED lights on growth.