We have been rather blessed this year with a mild summer, except for an unbearable bit in July. The hills and fields stayed green for quite a long time, and no horrible fires which usually cause extreme damages. The lack of heat has caused the grape harvest to be put off until later in the season, but the grapes look wonderful.
Out where I live, the farmers grow a lot of feed; alfalfa, wheat, other grains and corn. When I was driving past one of the neighbors corn fields, I noticed they had cut the plants in half. Wasn't sure why, usually they cut them lower and then burn the stalks to fertilize the soil.
This morning there were two women in the field, I couldn't figure out what they were doing when we quickly drove by, but on the way back we saw they had been turning back the husks on the corn which was left on the plants. The golden stalks now had bright orange corn. I made my husband stop so I could take a foto, the colors were so lovely.
Italians don't eat corn on the cob, I rarely find it in the stores. Canned corn did show up a few years ago and I find it in the weirdest places, like on pizza or tossed into a mixed green salad. I imagine that perhaps this vibrate golden cob may be used for making polenta. Often I have seen cobs hanging outside people's doors in the working farms. Next time we pass, I will ask the women why they did this and get more information.
The first figs are appearing in the market and I had my first favorite light lunch of salami and figs for the season. We found a rich, flavorful, locally produced salami at the Saturday market.
Summer is coming to an end and everyone is getting ready now for the Vendemmia, the grape harvest.
Chianti wine festivals are the second, third and fourth weekend in September. Usually they all happen after lunch and go late into the evening. The first festival is in Greve, then Panzano and the last festival is in Impruneta and is the oldest wine festival in Italy. It has fun floats, decorated in grapes for the four quarters of the town.
This week I also had a first, I taught a cooking class for Italians! I played it safe and did a combo of international and classic Tuscan. They are from the north and adored learning Pici and Sugo Toscano.
My other "golden" moment this summer was a lovely gift from an Italian student in the class.
Any ideas ? On Facebook and Twitter where I posted the foto's people asked if it was hairy garlic- or onions. NOPE
I was gifted a bag of Crocus Sativus bulbs otherwise known as Saffron. The area I live in, outside of San Gimignano is famous for saffron. So, add another new plant to my little garden.
Nicolo said to plant them in small mounds and don't water. They crocus' should pop up on November and he gave me enough for what should make risotto four times. We'll see. I am always ready to learn new tricks.
November is going to be fabulous.
Not only will I have a Sicily Olive Harvest trip early in the month, I am also organizing a Tuscan Olive Oil Harvest week. ( the day by day schedule will be up later this week on my site) November 21-27.
The year has flown by and been full of surprises. Next year is already filling up and I haven't even put together my calendar.
But I will be taking groups to Sicily again in May and October ( one week in each month is already filled).
Thank you all for all your support and please pass on my blog to your friends!