Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Marzo Pazzo & the Hunt for Organic Food

I'd heard that March is called Marzo pazzo (crazy March) because of the unpredictable weather, and now I am experiencing the reason for the nickname. Last week, it rained all week long - hard, torrential rain with thunder through Saturday night. Sunday was sunny and mild, pleasant enough for us to clear out all those darn nettles! Monday brought heavy winds strong enough to knock over our outside umbrella set in a concrete filled base. And today, Wednesday, a gorgeous day with mild enough temperatures to really air the house out and then freezing cold at night. Definitely Marzo passo. I am looking forward to spring with great longing.

Today, an Italian friend took me and another lady (American) - we are all neighbors - to her organic food store in nearby Pozzuoli. We are sorely lacking in organic produce. I hear conflicting rumors as to whether farmers in the region use pesticides and what Italian law is [insert big laugh - I just read my last sentence...laws are followed at a whim I have not yet grasped, so I don't think it actually matters what the law says]. In addition, I clearly remember a sign near some lemon trees several months ago that had a large "Sprayed with Poison"  notice - I took a picture and wrote about it here. I have found one organic store (biologico/a is the term here) in Centro, but that's a longer trip, and the metro from Centro is usually very crowded. This store is just three stops up on the Metro and then a pleasant walk through a large park with views over the sea. It's a small store (we have nothing like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's) but has a nice variety of products, from canned goods to tea to honey the lady makes herself. Each of us found something we'd been seeking, so it's great to have another source. Sadly, she did not have any produce today, so I'm still on my quest. I'm specifically searching for organic lemons in order to start making our limoncello. We used to have a grocery store near our house that had a large organic produce section, but they have recently changed ownership (and name) and supposedly cut that section. Since I didn't get to that store before (and haven't been yet, still), this is all hearsay.

After our successful shop trip, we wandered back towards the Metro, but took a little detour to the fish market of Pozzuoli. This place is two aisles of produce and fish (and one bread guy), open daily until around noon or so. We visited one stall in particular that the other two ladies knew had a good reputation and stood around talking about how to buy fish, how to tell if it's farm-raised or fresh from the sea, how to have the fishmonger clean it for you, all those important things to know.  Getting out into town like that is always so inspirational for me and reminds me of what a great experience living here is. All too often, I get caught up in my own "to do" list at home, or once I feel caught up, I try to get in some relaxing before getting busy again. I haven't taken the time to really just slow down and enjoy. Upon our return back to our neighborhood, we stopped off at our local bar for coffee and elected to sit out on their patio to take in the sunny weather...and to slow down and enjoy.

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