Monday, June 10, 2013

Bene bene bene olivos!

Buon giorno! 
We have offically arrived in Sorento, Italia after spending five days on the island of Sicilia. The region of Sicily reminds us Texans of home sweet farm lands. The weather is much more pleasant than good ol' College Station but the lifestyles are similarly centered around agriculture. From olivas (olives) to pistachios, from vineyards to honey farms, the windy roads of Catania and Palermo had much more to offer than we anticipated. Our first two nights were spent at Agriturismo La Pietre Antics in Catania, Sicily which was flooded with rows of crops including scrumptious red cherries that we could eat by the handful. Our jet lag combined with the wonderful food made our stay at the Agriturismo feel like a dream.

Cherries at La Pietre Antics Agriturismo. 
Once we arrived on the other side of  Sicily in the city of Palermo we took a trip to a local organic olive oil orchard called Titone. The nineteen acre orchard was home to 5,000 trees and three different varieties. The family owned orchard was established in 1930 but contained olive tree varieties that were traced back to when Greek colonies use to cover Sicily. The unique pesticides and fertilizers caught our attention and our noses. The family uses emptied plastic bottles with a square hole cut in one of the lower sides that is filled with a mixture of water and sardines. (Yes, the little hairy fish that my father loves to put on pizza.) The bottles are hung from the tree branches throughout the orchard and attract their primary pest, the "olive fly". The female fly is attracted to the retched smell of the concoction and the male fly is attracted to the female flies, thus trapping both inside the bottles. The fertilizers used by the orchard are also completely organic. Compost leaves from the olive trees that are discarded after pruning are mixed with the left over olive pulp that is the "waste" after the olive oil extraction. This mixture is put back into the soil as a natural and nutrient fertilizer. I guess they have perfected  the process over the decades because our lunch was delicious and we all left with bottles of olive oil to enjoy when we are back in the United States. 

Part of our lovely lunch at Tione.
"Food is the best medicine, the best medicine is food."
The saying of the Tione Olile Oil.  
Until next time, Ciao!
Josie E

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