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Archive for the 'Agriculture' Category

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Giuseppe has many fruit trees on his farm. Some are rare varieties of pears and apples that are native to Piedmont. The quality of his fruit is exceptionally high and there is an abundance of it. Piero will take crates of pears and apples back to Cascina Piola to add [...]

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Piero, left, and Giuseppe
Vanessa and I have made plans to travel south to the region of Molise, Italy, for two weeks, where we will learn to work as shepherds on a dairy farm. We had a few hours to spare before catching our overnight train, so Piero took us to a [...]

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Grape Must and Autumn Fruits Stew Together to Make a Classic Piemontese Condiment
The time of the wine harvests in the Monferrato is also a time to make mostarda d’uva, called cognà in the Piemontese dialect, a fruit conserve whose primary ingredient is the grape must from the harvest. The name is misleading: there [...]

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Dolcetto, the Piemontese grape
The period just before the wine harvest is a critical and stressful one for wine makers. Piero had made a preliminary trip to his vineyard in Strevi earlier this week, anxiously examining the dolcetto grapes to decide which day would be best for the harvest. An extra few days [...]

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Cascina Piola: A welcome place for family and friends
Five years ago I took a similar trip to Europe to volunteer on organic farms. I was traveling alone and spent most of my time in Italy. My first three months were on a large cooperative in the Maremma, the coastal region [...]

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Cristobol hitches an uphill ride on Guapa’s tail
Vanessa and I spend most days with Cristobol, psychiatrist Alonso’s 87 year-old grandfather. When Alonso works construction on weekdays, this web it is Cristobol who walks with us for half an hour to the almond orchards. On our first day in the orchard Cristobol took a [...]

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A poached fresh-laid egg in a black bean soup, drug Andalucia
Access to truly fresh eggs is one of the great advantages of living on a farm. Every farm we have been on so far has chickens for the family’s use. They are easy to care for, eating leftovers and scraps from the kitchen, [...]

Falling off a Horse

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On Guapa
Most days Vanessa and I go with Cristobol, pharmacy Alonso’s 87 year-old grandfather, shop to collect almonds in their orchard near Alpandeire. We take Guapa, Alonso’s horse, and his dog, Ula, with us. Both animals get some exercise on the half-hour walk to the orchard, then they run free while we harvest, [...]

Gazpacho

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Ingredients for Gazpacho before being pureed.
Gazpacho is among the most internationally famous Andalucian dishes. Countless variations of gazpacho exist, see the most famous being a pureed cold tomato and bread soup: a liquid salad to be enjoyed in hot weather. The ancestor of gazpacho predates the introduction of the tomato and pepper to Europe [...]

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The walk back to Alpandeire from the fields.
After three weeks in Spain’s Celtic northwest, cheap Vanessa and I are now in the arid southern mountains of Andalucia. We have only one week here, global burden of disease which we will spend on a farm in an ancient chalk-white town named Alpandeire, two hours [...]

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