Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Cherries Galore

Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy

One of the best things about being in the small town Castiglion Fiorentino is the hospitality our group has received. Locals are of often very proud of what they are able to grow in their gardens and gladly welcome you into their gardens as they show you what is in bloom. After a long day of travels a small group of us went to go do some laundry at the laundry mat down the hill and sat outside on the steps waiting for our clothes to finish. A car pulled up not too far away from the steps and the couple in the car got our and popped open their trunk to pull out multiple boxes of gorgeous, bright red, freshly picked cherries. They did not speak hardly any English, but the women graciously offered us to try some of the cherries her and her husband had just picked. In awe of the fresh fruity goodness, we thanked her and she left promptly. Less than five minutes later she came back with a tray of cherries that she had washed for us to snack on and enjoy. She said in the best English she could that they came from her garden down the street and we were free to go have a look. We had some time to kill after indulging ourselves and got to go walk down the road and found multiple fruit trees in their elaborate Italian garden. It was a beautiful garden that utilized every part of the space for both aesthetics and practicality.

Italian gardens are a mixture of elegant lines and strong design elements. Many of the these gardens are home to various citrus trees that originated from the new varieties of fruit trees that came flooding into Italy from all over the world during the roman empire. The cherry tree is a classic spring flowering tree and its presence is always visually pleasing, but even better are the tasty fruits that come from the tree in the early summer. While many would love this gem of tree in their garden, the cherry is a very problematic and slightly difficult in that the cherry is prone to fungus attack, which enters through pruning wounds or from wind damage. This also makes pruning the tree rather difficult.

The couple was able to produce so many of the cherries, without any problems, and shared the hard work they put into producing them. It will be weird not getting my free fruit from fellow neighbors back in college station.

-Kourtney C.

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