Monday, June 4, 2007

Fruits and vegetables

If there's one thing I NEVER complain about, it's the quality of the fruits and vegetables available here in Italy. At least twice a week I visit our local "frutivedolo". They may not have everything--they never carry "american" broccoli for instance, one of Dante's favorites (called Sicilian broccoli here to distinguish it from broccoli rabe which IS very common), and they rarely have fruit that's really out of season (strawberries in November, for example) but what they do have is GREAT. It's probably because most is not traveling really great distances (from Spain or Italy mostly) and also because Italians buy a lot, so there's great turnover. In fact, their tiny parking lot AND the sidewalk out front is often overrun with cars parked every which way and everyone is walking out with several bundles jammed full. They buy in quantity and eat it all. An important part of that healthy Mediterranean diet, no doubt.

Another great tradition here is the family garden and fruit orchard. We are often the grateful recipients of our friends' excess--bags of freshly picked lettuce, lemons, grapefruit, plums, tomatoes find their way to our table. And the idea is to eat it up quickly. Instead of making that little bag of plums last for a week, it's more like I should eat a few whenever I pass the bowl--or make jam when it just seems to be all too much of a great thing!!

No comments: