Walnuts in the Perigord

The process of growing, harvesting, cracking and making walnut oil. 

This series of photos was taken in the Perigord, rural France, where an age-old tradition of cracking and shelling walnuts by hand to make oil is still practised.

The cracking sessions are a yearly communal affair. In this series the elderly neighbours ('les dames denoisillenses') gather around poet Leni Dipple's kitchen table, to process the crop. The nuts are placed on a tile, cracked with a boxwood mallet and shelled ('denoisillage'). Hands and heads are engaged. The women chat, sing in French or Occitan, listen to the sounds, or become simply absorbed in the activity. The nuts are shelled over several sessions and then pressed at a local mill.

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