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In 1921, Mr Causse, big walnut importer and representative of Isère trade associations in the United States, had a walnut-processing company built in Tullins, like the Californian ones. In 1929, he sold it to the Federation of walnut growers, which changed it to the “Cooperative of Trade Association’s Federation” for the Grenoble walnut growers. Coopenoix ancestor was born!
On 1800 square meters, the plant owned a steam engine, mechanical washers, a sizing device for 500 bags a day, a mechanical warm air-dryer and conveyor belts. Walnuts underwent a treatment for washing and bleaching shells, approved by the Hygiene Official Committee, part of the Ministry of Agriculture. At that time already, the Cooperative put into practice some treatment trials on trees and popularized adequate growing methods. This tradition has survived until now, since Coopenoix member growers are still very keen on using these methods.
In the following years, more and more growers joined this first cooperative. The results were so successful that growers from the Corrèze “département” (in the Limousin region, center of France) needed advice to set up their own cooperative.
The controlled designation of origin
In 1936, the Federation Cooperative for the Grenoble walnut growers decided to agree with the regional traders on the designation of origin in a restricted production territory, to be obtained from the public authorities. On June, 17th 1938, the Grenoble walnuts were awarded the label through an order in council, defining the growing area (along the Isere Valley, straddling 3 French départements: Isère, Drôme and Savoie) for three varieties cultivated on this soil: Franquette, Mayette and Parisienne.
On September 11th 1938, a few months after obtaining the controlled designation of origin, the Federation Cooperative became the Cooperative of Walnut Growers.
The number of members reached its highest point in the 1950s with about 600 growers. This figure had decreased gradually since then, because of walnut farms’ groupings (1700 producers on the whole area in 1936 versus 1200 nowadays) to stabilize at around 450 members.
COOPENOIX - 75, avenue de la Noix de Grenoble - B.P. 42 - 38470 Vinay - France
Tel. 33 (0)4 76 36 80 33 - Fax 33 0(4) 76 36 63 69 - www.coopenoix.com - www.alpnoix.com
Photos : Julien Replat - Bernard Ronté - D.R. - Dernière mise à jour le 29/03/2013