Monday, March 3, 2014

L'orto domestico is the word for "kitchen garden"

With Spring creeping into California, I'm already making my list of what seeds need to be bought/started and planted for this year's Spring/Summer garden crop. Although I save my own seeds (semi), I am always looking for heirloom varieties and I really like the selection at Seeds from Italy. I just ordered  "agretto"...a variety I can't wait to try.

I started looking for sweet Calabrese pepper seeds online because I hadn't saved the seeds from a previous year's crop...and if I did save them, I don't remember where I put them (I've had 3 urban gardens in 4 years!). bene...compro i semi quest'anno. I discovered Seeds from Italy in Rosetta Costantino's book My Calabria. Whenever I traveled to Italy, I always brought back seed varieties of the vegetables that I loved eating in Italy, but that were hard to find back home. I remember dashing around Roma on our way to la stazione to catch our train to Lago di Garda, trying to find il fioraio 

 where I had seen a stand of must-have heirloom seeds (semi antichi) and organic seeds (semi biologici) in vendita.

If you have seeds to share from "la patria", please contact me and share them!

orto in canoa share....I wanted to share the ingenuity of the Italian people and their love of fresh personal produce; this article talks about recycling and planting, a movement, a way of life in an urban environment: Orto in Parco.

And here's something new that I'd like to share, it's an idea from the German culture and something I will try quando arriva la frutta di primavera. Preserving summer fruit for consumption in winter, instead of--or in addition to making jam, make fruit liquor:

Basic Recipe for Rumtopf
The following fills a 2-gallon crock. You can certainly halve or quarter this recipe and use a smaller jar. Select whichever fruits are in season where you live, but note that melons don't work well.
3 cups strawberries, hulled
2 cups each, 8-14 different ripe and unblemished fruits*
9 1/2 - 15 1/2 cups sugar (1 cup for every 2 cups of fruit)
2 liters organic dark rum or brandy, at least 80 proof
*Suggestions: apples (cored and sliced); apricots (pitted and sliced); beach plums (pitted); blackberries; blueberries (pierced); cherries (pitted); currants, red and black (pierced); figs (sliced); gooseberries; nectarines (pitted and sliced); peaches (pitted and sliced); pears (cored and sliced); plums (pitted and sliced); raspberries
See the complete recipe here:  la ricetta completa

orto in tendenza

Furthermore, with a few square meters (pochi metri quadrati) one can establish their own orto familiare (personal family garden). 

And I just want to aggiungere qui that here in my beautiful California landscape, we have the absolute best climate and land for all kinds of farming. I'm planning a trip to Big Sur, CA in the summertime and I'm putting the Esalen Farm & Garden on my itinerary. I will take my Italian friends to fare questa bella esperienza.

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