Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Berry Bounty

Back in late fall/early winter, we found ourselves overwhelmed with oranges. Big oranges, little oranges, oranges dripping from trees, even wild oranges that are too sour to eat - that's right, this country has so many orange trees that many of them aren't even tended and have just been allowed to grow wild. Our landlady brought over bags and bags of clementines. We bought bags and bags of clementines. And this was my introduction to becoming a locavore. I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver a few years ago after hearing her give a reading in Floyd, Virgina. That book is one of those change your life books - I didn't change mine radically, but her words and her message resonate with me even now, half a decade later. I still talk about this book all the time. The upshot is that she, her husband, and their two daughters moved from the southwest to a farm in VA, where for one year, they ate food that was grown within a certain radius of their home (something like 60 miles). I loved the premise and how the family lived it out. Here in Italy, as long as we shop in town rather than on base, we can't help but become locavores. The produce stands are full of what is in season, not what is grown in hothouses countries away and shipped to our location. And the bounty is wonderful and cheap, cheap, cheap! While I seemed to pay more back in the U.S. for food with the locally grown label, here, prices really reflect supply and demand.
This was just a small orange purchase - it cost us 36 cents

In December, we ate oranges. I asked my friend, K., if she thought we'd be able to get oranges after the season was over. She said then that she imagined something just as wonderful would come along to make me forget about the oranges. And so it has been. We had artichokes in the spring. And this month, it's the strawberries. Big, juicy strawberries and itty, bitty sweet ones. They're so plentiful, that we buy them in cases, not little pint containers. Thankfully, I purchased a canning kit prior to moving to Italy, although I've yet to pull it out. But strawberry season is calling to my canning kit. Nathan and I have been having some Bubba from "Forrest Gump" moments where we just call out things we can do with the strawberries - strawberry jam, berry smoothies, strawberry martinis. I can't wait to see what sort of bounty comes next.
This huge case was only 3 euros


  1. 36 cents! Impressive! I bought 4 apples yesterday (here in Japan) and it cost me $7.00! Yikes.

  2. Strawberry freezer jam has taken over my freezer - and now we are on to the cherries. Cherries in particular are so expensive back in the states - I have eaten so many I think I'll turn into that girl in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and you can just roll me out like a big Cherry!

  3. I completely forgot about the cherries! And I have a bowl full sitting in the fridge - I cannot believe how cheap they are.