It was a beautiful day in the summer holidays and this was the view we were welcomed with at the St Peter’s Mini Vraic Day at Lihou headland. It was the culmination of the Floral St Peter’s entries into Britain in Bloom – the judges had just been ’round.
Vraic is the Guernsey French name for seaweed and, for four centuries, farmers and growers have collected the valuable stuff from Guernsey’s forshores to fertilise their land.
Here was a ‘mini’ celebration in honour of the lovely stuff – there were seaweed-themed stalls teaching us about the benefits of these wonderful plants – whether medicinal, culinary, horticultural or cosmetic. One stallholder had baked some delicious samosas with local seaweed, and very tasty they were too. There were local vraic experts on hand to show different species and the children were encouraged to feel and taste.
There were also beautiful Ormer (abalone) shells for sale. Ormer gathering is another longstanding local tradition. The States of Guernsey has a strict code of practice for the shore gathering of ormers, in order to protect local stocks and limit damage and disturbance to our shorelines.
Children from the gardening club at the local primary school, La Houguette, were proudly manning their own stall, displaying the vegetables they had grown, and the award-winning planted wheelbarrow.