Camille Tessier, stonemason who became a camel breeder in Tarn

Camel grower Camille Tessier on the farm “Prairie de Cameline”, in Terre de Bancalier, near Toulouse, May 17, 2022. (© AFP / Archive / Matthieu RONDEL)

Crews, a farm … A universe there Camille Tessier, who grew up in a shepherd family, knows well. As a transformed stonemason, she nevertheless takes up a greater “challenge” by traveling, in Towercamels for their milk.

Two years ago, Camille bought a farm

The breeder looks tenderly at Nour, Timone Faya, Rifla and Jaïd, her four young dromedaries partying with trains, ivy and fresh grass in the fields.

“I have always dreamed of having a flock of sheep. I grew up with a shepherd grandfather and uncle, a great-uncle who was the last traveling shepherd in France, ”confides this dynamic 39-year-old mother of two.

Two years ago, Camille bought a farm and its 30 hilly acres Terre-de-Bancaliéin the center of Towerand embarked on two productions, “so as not to put all (his) eggs in one basket”.

Four camels

She acquires a “small” sheep farm in 115 heads, as well as four dromedaries – three females and one male – with the project of making cosmetic products based on their milk. She highlights its moisturizing benefits, especially for people with skin problems.

Why camels? A choice dictated by random encounters with two other breeders and love for her alpacas – also camelids – which she adopted as a pet ten years ago.

“Promising market”

There are about thirty camel farms in France, mostly used for tourist activities. But only three focus their activities around milk, “and that’s very recent,” told AFP Bernard Faye, a retired veterinarian, researcher and specialist in large camelids.

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“There has been a great deal of enthusiasm for a few years” for these animals, which the collective imagination associates with warm countries and desert lands, “and more and more farmers are interested in the production of camel’s milk, a lively market,” he said.

According to him, the reputation of this milk consumed in certain Arab-Muslim countries is “probably overestimated”.

Transform into cosmetics

“There are indisputable empirical observations that show that regular consumption of this milk is beneficial for certain diseases, but it certainly does not have all the virtues attributed to it,” he believes.

In France, however, it can not be sold without the necessary approvals. So the breeders are currently happy to turn it into cosmetic products.

Lucie Tardieu, a few months old baby in her arms, is a loyal customer to Camille.

“With my job as a masseur, I have to wash my hands very regularly and this soap prevents me from drying out problems. It is also perfect for my baby’s skin, there is no need to go looking for very expensive big brands, ”says the 30-year-old.

“Curious, stubborn”

On the farm, on the internet and soon at trade fairs, the breeder has just started selling his first soaps for six euros each. The goal is to sell about 4,000 a year.

But since his young dromedaries are not yet producing their own milk due to the first child is not expected until a few monthsshe gets her supplies from a farm in Lozere.

“It is a long-term project with a significant financial investment. A female dromedary costs almost 5000 euros and prices continue to rise, ”she says, hoping to reach zero within five years.

At the Réalmont Tourist Office, Suman Rasiwamala, who was in charge of the reception and tourist activities, was won over by the experience.

When Camille told me about it, I immediately told myself that we had to promote it because it is quite unusual in the department and it will allow us to attract people we would not normally have.

Suman RasiwamalaRealmont Tourist Office

The curious can already now meet the camels on the farm, where they live “very well” with the sheep, it sounds from the passionate breeder.

These desert animals adapt very well to the Tarn environment

And unlike a priorithese desert animals adapt very well to the Tarn environment: “they just need space to walk, and can withstand negative temperatures of up to -10 degrees without any problems”, she says.

Without counting her hours to achieve her “dream”, Camille juggles her job as a farmer, responsible for communicating her project and her store owner.

Always with an exuberant energy transferred to her, she says, by her four “curious, stubborn dromedaries, endowed with a memory of hell, but to whom one must not make dirt, otherwise it will not work!” »

(With AFP)

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