Welcome to my world - a blend of passion, taste, and old-world traditions. Benvenuti nel mio mondo - un mischio di passione, gusto e vecchie tradizioni.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

LOCAVORE - Before the Term Existed

Locavore A person who eats food grown locally.

Italians were locavores long before the word even existed and my family is no exception.  My husband (75), my mother (90) and I (69) have been locavores all our lives. 
Spanish lettuce

All photos - Copyright - ©2011 - La Casa e Il Giardino – picasaweb

My mother and husband attend to the vegetable garden and I attend to my perennial flower garden.  The vegetable garden, for my mother, is her fountain of youth.  She is forever weeding; many times coming in touch with poison ivy.

Our perennial flower garden

You will never see us relaxing on lawn chairs or poolside.  It’s not our style.  We sow, turn over soil, spread manure, weed and harvest the crops.  In Italy,  my parents were known as contadini (farm workers).  We cultivated our taste for seasonal ingredients in Abruzzo, Italy, post World War II.  We ate tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and eggplants in the summer and cabbage, beans, cornmeal pizza and polenta in the winter.  Our desserts were fruits - watermelon, peaches and grapes in the summer; apples, oranges, walnuts, almonds and dry figs in the winter.   

I can still smell those tiny apples called (mele tinelle) encased in a drawer of a large dresser just below the linens.  
Che profumo!

Like all other Italians of our generation, we attend to a grapevine and a fig tree.  We can tomatoes and we make wine.

Canned tomato jars
Now, that Mrs. Obama planted the White House garden, growing one’s food has become fashionable.  To us cafoni (poor peasants), it’s always been common sense that fresh food tastes better, it’s healthier and good for the environment.


  1. It's funny you mention the lawn chairs. I bought one. I have used it maybe 5 times in almost 10 years. I can't sit still. Your tomato preserves are wonderful. No one here (in Seattle) has any tomatoes yet except for maybe green ones!

  2. Mimi - Our tomatoes are green also. Probably will ripe the first week of August. As to the canned jars, they're gone. I have two left. Lot of work ahead.

  3. We just planted three fig trees and are giving them lots of TLC. Do you have any special tips for keeping the fruitful and healthy???? We lost one last year and now have to start from scratch!!!

  4. You should fertilize your young trees in late winter or early spring. Any fertilizer for fruit trees will do.
    In late November, the trees should be covered with blankets or carpets, followed by plastic or canvas. Plastic should not touch tree.
    Once the trees are fully grown, they should be pruned. We prune before wrapping.
    Good luck!