Category Archives: cooking

All good things must come to an end…

For the last week I have been hosting a group of the BEST EVER women. They are five members of my stateside book group. We have been together for nearly twenty years. And good years they have been. I’ve missed going to the get togethers very much so I was really looking forward to seeing them and showing them around our neck of the woods. The original criteria for joining our group were: being in close proximity to one another, and you must love to cook, eat, drink wine and read. Since we formed we have been through marriages, divorce, the births of four children and retirements. Some of us moved away. One to Los Angeles, one to Naples FL, one to Maryland (so still close-ish) and me to Italy. The five who came are from CA, FL, MD, and two from Virginia. Because we are food and wine oriented my planning included good places to eat, a wine tasting and a cooking class.

We picked them all up at the Rome airport after renting a car big enough for seven. We caravanned to Montepulciano the first day for lunch at La Grotta. It was a good first lunch. Then we drove the two cars to Calagrana where we were staying two nights. Ely was the perfect host for our group for the entire stay there. Luigi, our driver AKA Luther my other half went home to take care of the cats. The group had a light dinner at Calagrana that evening and it was good as ever.

Breakfast at Calagrana – homemade pastries!
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Sunday we drove to Umbertide and picked up Luigi and drove to Perugia to do some touring. We took the MiniMetro up into town. Afterward we drove to Roncolfo to eat at one of our favorite fish places. It was Mothers Day so crowded and slow but we had fun…and four bottles of wine! The food was good. We drove back to Calagrana and had a picnic of prosciutto, cheese and bread. They serve only lunch on Sunday there.

The five in Perugia. Pam is behind Melissa. Sorry Pam!

Monday I had arranged that we have a cooking class with Alberto, the chef at Calagrana. It started at 10am.

Pam and Mitzi, ready to work.

Lynn, Ellie and Melissa watch attentively.DSC05537We first prepped the eggplant for the ravioli. We created a dice which was fried and then added a prepared, roasted eggplant into the mix and some Parmesan cheese. It was the essence of eggplant!

We then took some mashed potatoes which were mixed with flour and tossed it in our hand to make a ball. We then used the side of our hand to make a little knob which made it resemble a pear. To finish the illusion we took a clove to be the end of the pear and a piece of spaghetti to be the stem. This would be deep fried as a side for the chicken.

Ellie finished her “pear”.

Melissa tries her hand.

Finished potato “pears”DSC05549

We then prepared a mousse of chicken and truffles to stuff the upcoming chicken leg.

We started the makings of a warm salad of greens, a lemon and oil dressing, chicken livers and polenta croutons. Chef showed us a bunch of uses for polenta to include polenta lasagna. Good for gluten free folks. For the salad we were going to make polenta croutons (below).

DSC05605We next learned how to debone a chicken leg and stuff it with the mousse. We dipped it into oil and salt and pepper and rolled the finished product in aluminum foil. It was baked for 30 minutes and would hold in the oven for two hours making it a nice dinner party entree.

My de-boned leg.DSC05554

Stuffed leg.DSC05555

Legs rolled in aluminum foil and labeled with our names. We each will eat the one we made.

Next we made pasta. Alberto does not create a well in flour and incorporate the egg as we previously had learned. He uses a bowl and kneads it into the flour until a dough forms.

After he runs the dough through the pasta machine at high setting to knead it.

Cut into rectangles.

Never leave dough unwrapped or it will dry out. Wrap in plastic wrap.

We did hands on finishing it up using the manual pasta machine. We learned how to make many shapes and how to freeze them for future meals. Chef Alberto is all about making a large amount if you are going to the trouble, then freezing it. We made eggplant ravioli and Chef flash froze it before cooking. He says all pasta should be frozen and not thawed before cooking. Just toss the frozen stuff into the boiling water and return to a boil and it will be done.

Chef Alberto demonstrates how to roll the pasta on the machine. Do not take the pasta out of the machine as you roll it. If properly floured it will not stick together.
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Ready to make any shape of pasta.

Many shapes.

This will be ravioli. Chef wets it with water on one side.

The eggplant goes about 2 fingers apart. Only make four in a row and then space. Easier to work with.

Fold the dough across and press lightly. Form into packets.

Now it’s our turn to try. Ellie manning the pasta machine.

Melissa gives it a try.

Mitzi at the machine.

Lynn with Ely looking on.

Melissa makes her ravioli packets.

Pam carefully folds the dough over her eggplant.

Finally it was time to finish and eat! Alberto sautéed the polenta croutons with pancetta until very brown and crisp. Meanwhile he sautéed the chicken livers. The warm croutons and chicken livers topped the greens tossed in the dressing. So good! Then we created a simple browned butter and thyme sauce for the ravioli. Chef tossed the now-frozen ravioli into boiling water and returned it to a boil. Then he tossed it into the browned butter sauce and tossed until finished. Sublime! Finally the chicken legs which had rested for around two hours were ready and they were sliced through to show the stuffing and were plated with the deep fried “pear” apples. We were stuffed!

Salad of warm chicken livers and croutons.
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Ravioli being served.

Chicken and “pear”, plated and ready to eat.

We headed down to Umbertide and took everyone to their accommodations. We had the use of a little apartment on the piazza just next to our house. Three of our people stayed there and endured the 68 steps up. The other two came to our house. This evening we began our Aperol spritz tradition. It is a nice cocktail from Prosecco, sparkling water and Aperol. The later has a slightly bitter orange taste. Refreshing and my go-to summer drink. We enjoyed them on the Piazza at Bar Mary. Then we went to our friends house for a light dinner. It was wonderful.

Tuesday we planned a trip to Assisi. We got an early start with breakfast and on the road at 9:30. It was great because we got ahead of the crowds and had the Basilica to ourselves. The weather was really nice. Not too hot or cold.

The lower church sanctuary.

Goofing around and having an Aperol Spritz in the square in Assisi.
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I had been thwarted yet again by the restaurants weekly closing day so couldn’t go to the place I wanted. We went to a place I hadn’t tried called Osteria da Erminio. It was on a quiet square and we could eat outside. It was nice.

The fortress above Assisi.

Wednesday was market day and I wanted them to all experience it. So fun. We all enjoyed the local speciality, porchetta. It is slow roasted whole pig sliced with the cracking onto buns. Breakfast of champions! We shopped around and bought some fava beans, new peas and thin asparagus for our pasta that evening. Also fruit for breakfast. We went to lunch in Montone at Erba Luna. It is embedded in the old hill town’s walls with pretty vaulted ceilings. The food is also very nice here. That evening we had Aperols at Bar Mary again 🙂 This night we introduced everyone to our favorite Italian game show…L’Eredita. Quirky and fun and even non-Italian speakers can enjoy it with a little help from Luigi. Dinner was orchietti with the spring veggies. Tasty!

Thursday we had arranged a wine tasting at Tabarrini in the Montefalco wine region. They are nice and have a good tasting with tasty snacks to go with the wines. Luigi bought three six packs of wine.

Outside it was storming across the valley.

Ready to taste. DSC05626

View across the valley.DSC05630

Then we headed to the hill town Montefalco for lunch at L’Alchimista. Excellent place. Too bad it was rainy so we had to eat inside.

Montefalco street.

My carpaccio.DSC05632

My soup.DSC05633

Then we went to Deruta for ceramics shopping. Most folks bought some. This evening we continued the Aperol cocktail hour at Bar Mary and the L’Eredita game show. We ordered pizza for dinner. At dinner my guests surprised me with the gift of a lovely bowl I had admired in Deruta. So sweet!

Vibrant colors!

Alas, Friday arrived and we headed back to Roma. We stopped in Orvietto to see the Cathedral. It was a very windy day. We stopped at the Autogrill on the road to Roma for panini. Another Italian experience. We arrived in Fiumicino around three and checked into our hotel. We next fulfilled another necessary thing on the to-do list…gelato! Yum! Later we had our final Aperol at our hotel and watched L’Eredita for a final time and then off to dinner in our hotel one star Michelin restaurant. A very excellent dinner. More pricy than in Umbria but that’s to be expected.

Saturday dawned windy and stormy. Off to the airport with our charges. Such a sad moment as I had had SUCH a great time with my friends. We kissed our farewells until a future meeting. These ladies are such a part of my life. I know they always have my back no matter how far apart we live. I love them. Buon viaggio a tutti!

By the time they read this, they will be home…


Buona Pasqua a tutti!

Pasqua or Easter is a big deal here in Italy. They start on Palm Sunday with a Mass held outside with olive branches in lieu of palm fronds. Then on Good Friday they have a procession through town. They have a body representing Christ that they carry behind all the priests with big torches burning. The band plays a dirge and the faithful follow behind with candles. It is pretty moving to watch. I took a film which is below. It is from our third floor window down into the street below as the procession passed by. On Easter Sunday they have the traditional big lunch after Mass. Lamb is the tradition. Tomorrow is Pasquetta (also a holiday) and traditionally all the Italians go for a picnic but sometimes to a restaurant for ANOTHER big lunch! Their reward after Lent I guess.

We have been trying to get out and about more lately now that the weather is improving. We took a trip to Cortona (of Under the Tuscan Sun fame). We had been once before on a vacation and in all this time here we had not returned. It was a blustery day and the parking lots, normally full, were empty. The front of the theater has this cool lantern on it

We went to the Osteria del Teatre for lunch. It is a very old fashioned Tuscan place with friendly service and was pretty popular. Note the projector and retracted screen for presentations on the beamed ceiling.

I had the baccalà, or salt cod. It has to be soaked for days to go from it’s totally dried out state to something edible. It was good.

I don’t normally have dessert but my interest was piqued by this odd looking thing below. It had a handle inserted into the center which they turned and a blade shaved it into curls. It is made of white chocolate and ground pistachio nuts. I had it on homemade gelato and it was divine!


Our wine had the same name as the house from Under the Tuscan Sun. I don’t think they are related, but maybe?

View from the town. See Lago di Trasemeno in the distance? Also the town, named Terontola, on the flatlands has the main Rome to Florence rail line. You can see the straight arrow of the tracks. This is the station we use to go to either place. It has safe, free parking.

Then on Friday we drove down to DiFillipo winery in the Montefalco area to taste and buy some wine. They don’t call this the “Green heart of Italy” for nothing!

And continuing my food theme. Another of the odd differences between Italy and the US. This time of year there is a lot of lamb for sale. Not other times very much. It is hard to find. So I indulged in the lamb shoulder roast as I had a recipe. As I unwrapped it I noticed that it had the actual leg attached to the shoulder. And on the leg there was what looked like the hoof! Or what was left of the hoof. Note below. I am here to report the lamb was very good. I just ignored the hoof!

Goings On…

Spring has sprung when the Monk’s Beard shows up and here it is!

I also decided to ask our butcher for flank steak. I know it exists and I wanted to make fajitas. One of the butchers speaks some english so I asked him if he was familiar with them. He said yes and trotted off into the back. He brought out what is the most enormous flank steak I’ve ever seen. He held his knife on it to see how much I wanted. So what I ended up with was this.

As you can see it is a very thick steak and I got a chunk of it. I grilled it in the fireplace without marinating it or anything else. It was a tasty bit of meat and worked fine in the fajitas. Always something new!

Our weather has been unrelentingly gray and wet but not particularly cold. The Tiber overflowed its banks again but not as bad as last year. All the little rivers were roaring torrents! And we’ve had some storms. This one loomed up over the mountains with the sun still shining in the foreground.

This week we finally saw some relief…So when we saw the sun was going to be out we planned a trip to a winery in the Montefalco area. We head for one in particular but as often happens ended up at another because we couldn’t find the first one. We ended up at Antonelli. This is a very big operation for that area. They were very nice and poured generously for the tasting.


Nina the dog liked attention.

Packing up the purchases.

The tasting room.


They also produce olive oil and were pruning the trees back. See the piles of branches?

After the tasting we went into the town of Montefalco and tried to visit the museum but it was closed on Tuesdays. One of these days we’ll get to see the purportedly beautiful frescoes of the life of St. Francis. We chose a little enotecca with restaurant and had a pleasant lunch. There were even two brave tables of folks sitting outside in the sun.

Montefalco piazza.

View from Montefalco across the valley to Monte Subasio.

An artist paints stylized pictures of local scenes. Here is one that was hanging in the restaurant. I want to buy one of his paintings sometime. I’ve seen them in a shop in Assisi.DSC05301

Finally, I wanted to address something that I have been hearing over and over in the US press. And this is not a political opinion at all but it does have to do with the presidential election. It is the fact that many people are looking for so called “exit strategies” if Trump gets elected. Wanting to immigrate to Canada, or Mexico, or wherever to get away. Well, as an expat who has already exited let me tell you…you can run but you can’t hide.

As a US citizen anything that happens in the US affects all of us no matter where we live. We, as Americans, still have to file and pay US taxes every year. I was surprised to get a letter with an additional tax form I have to file this year to prove I have enough health insurance over and above my Medicare. This is a new one for me. It will be amusing to see how my accountant handles it! As most of you know we are in the Italian health care system.

We also have to comply with a lot of regulations that Uncle Sam creates just to keep tabs on us and on all our financial dealings. For instance, FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) and FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act). Depending on our situation we must file these before June or face fines and possible criminal charges.

Yep, the long arm of Uncle Sam will always find you. You might as well forget that “exit strategy”.

Odd food

Yesterday we went for our interview at the Questera to renew our Permessi. These police are in charge of immigration. They are based in Citta di Castello. They are generally very friendly. For this I am grateful because I’ve heard some are awful. After we got our fingerprints taken and had handed in all of our photocopies and passport sized pictures we thought we’d broach the subject of our Italian Culture class.

More explanation about this is called for. We had to sign an agreement to stay in Italy. The letter we signed is an agreement between us and the “State, in the person of the Prefect of PERUGIA”. We agreed to attend this class and pass the A2 Italian proficiency test. There is a point system. The letter clearly states that we get 16 points up front. If we do not take the class we LOSE 15 points. We need a total of 30 points after two years. I should mention that they did not give us this agreement until AFTER our scheduled class date. We believe they forgot to give it to us when we went in for our initial fingerprinting etc. They told us not to worry at the time. Since then we have been trying to figure out how to take this class with no luck. The two year date for our agreement to expire is September 4 of this year and it says it gets reviewed and we’ll get a letter if we are not compliant and they extend the agreement one more year. Then if we still don’t pass muster they deport us. This week, when we asked the officer about how we can take the class, she said it is not mandatory and not to worry about it. I can’t understand why the Questura told us this when this paper is quite clear. I am sure we have not heard the last of this. Sigh.

Last Sunday we decided to invite our friend Vera and her husband and two little girls over for pranzo (lunch). I made sure she was OK with something ethnic and she said she was. I made tortilla soup with added toppings of crisp corn tortillas, avocado, lime and cheese. Then we had a burrito with chicken with golden raisin sauce and sour cream. Next we had do-it-yourself tortillas. We had a tequila pork sausage with additional condiments of avocado, grilled onions, dressed cilantro, limes, tomatoes, with a mole sauce on flour tortillas. Everyone seemed happy to make their own. Graziano, Vera’s husband, was very adventurous for an Italian. Maja and Desiree who are 6 and 10 ate everything with gusto! And of course Vera, coming from Bosnia and Slovenia was excited to try all the new tastes. She also brought me the biggest chicken I’ve ever seen! And a bottle of Vin Santo as gifts. I should say it was all Italian spoken and I was ok with that. We had a lot of fun. Here we are at the table. Vera was taking the picture.


The chicken… Maybe tomorrow’s dinner?IMG_0680

This week our weather has been very changeable. Lots of storms, blustery winds, sleet and rain. One morning we even had a rainbow across the valley.

Today is the Saturday market. We have noticed that both the Wednesday and Saturday markets were very small this week. The big Wednesday one had probably a third of the normal vendors. I had mentioned in a previous post that I wanted to try the gobbi. I have a recipe which sounds pretty good and good for you. Here is the product I bought this morning.DSC05253
You have to trim the crap out of it. It is a relative of the artichoke family and has some spines that need trimming. I also removed most of the outer leaves. Like celery it has coarse threads that need to be removed. Once trimmed and chopped it looks like this.

Now I need to blanch it until fork tender. The recipe says this removes the bitterness. If you like it bitter boil it less. Once cooked you sautéed some cherry tomatoes in olive oil and add some garlic. Put the gobbo in the pot and sauté until done. Here is a picture of the finished product. The taste was…forgettable. Not worth the trouble.

Finally I bought something I’ve always wanted to have…a lemon tree! Apparently they do well here and can be left out except for a hard freeze which doesn’t happen often. It will flourish in the sun on the terrace. And it flowers and fruits all year. See how pretty!

Big soup

Today was the small local market. The only vegetables I can get there are the winter growing ones. Things like cabbage, kale, leeks, radicchio, some lettuces, Brussels sprouts. Also an odd thing called Gobbi. Also known as cardoni and cardi in Italian. And cardoons in English. So far I have not bought any but, since it’s seasonal and kind of special I will the next time I see it. I have found a recipe and how to trim it.

I did buy some very pretty cabbage and radicchio for my planned minestrone soup. Here is a picture.

Did you know minestra means soup and if you add -one to an Italian noun it means it’s a big one? Thus minestrone is “big soup”. I made a pot today. I had bones I saved from a chicken so I made a nice stock. Into that I put onion, celery and carrot, the traditional oduri in Italy. Then a can of tomatoes, a potato, a zucchini, pinch of pepperoncino flakes, chopped radicchio and cabbage and simmered for about an hour. I added a can of cannolini beans and some little pasta. Then I cooked it a bit more until the pasta was done. Served with a drizzle of good Umbrian olive oil. Yum! So healthy and warming.

To remind myself that spring is not TOO far away I bought a bouquet of yellow tulips to cheer my kitchen!

2016 begins

I have been busy what with the trip back to the US and other holiday type things. I felt the need to do a little catching up.

Our trip back home was nice. It was great to see my Sister and spend the holidays, not to mention two significant birthdays (hers and mine) together. We stayed with her on top of her mountain in the Blue Ridge of Virginia. It is beautiful there. We had warm weather and lots of fog. More likely cloud as in we were up in them at 3,700 feet. She fixed many of my favorite things to eat to include a gorgeous standing rib roast and chili as well as several southwestern and Mexican things. These were all things I had missed in Italy so it was great. I was sad to leave after six days.

We had gone to the US with two ginormous suitcases. One was mostly packed with Umbrian specialties like olive oil, lentils, faro etc to give away as gifts to friends. Then we did some shopping for things we cannot get (or are hard to find) in Italy to fill up the, now empty, suitcase. Mostly things like heavy duty aluminum foil (they have very flimsy foil here), ziplock bags, medicines and spices. Carolina rice is a special rice we like so we stocked up on that and pozole for southwest recipes. We also got some things for friends. And I bought some new clothes. A lot of it I had ordered online in advance and had them sent to my sister.

During the trip we had time to catch up with many friends and family. We got to see all my nieces and nephew at a lovely Christmas dinner in Old Town. I also got to meet Alex, Niece Rachel’s boyfriend, and congratulate my nephew on his recent engagement. Lovely family. Thanks to Mike and Anne (Luther’s brother and his wife) for a lovely dinner!

Another thing on my list to do was visit a couple of ethnic restaurants in hopes of getting that spice I craved. Alas, I was disappointed in both of them. Maybe my tastes are evolving? nah…

We had a  beautiful view of the Alps on the way from Germany to Rome. Much more snow on the way back than on the way over to the US.

We’ve been back for six days now and our jet lag is mostly over. The logistics of the trip worked fine. The air tickets were half the cost of tickets coming from and returning-to the US. I have NO idea why this would be but it was good for us. The car park in Fiumicino turned out to be great. Very efficient and quite cheap; only 38 Euro for 13 days and included the shuttle to and from the airport. A very easy and convenient way to use the Rome airport.

Our weather has settled into the typical cold and damp winter. The final days of the Christmas season were this week with Befana, the witch, visiting the children to bring candy or lumps of coal. We celebrated with a lovely lunch at Calagrana. There were about 14 people there.

And finally, last night I decided to try cooking on our kitchen fireplace. I am slowly getting the hang of using this fireplace. It takes a while for it to warm up enough to draw well so I keep the glass doors closed for the first couple of hours. Then I slowly can open them and use the fire to cook on. Last night it was Spigola or Sea Bass. Easy to do and it came out crispy and fluffy white inside. Future plans will be grilled vegetables, steak, lamb, other fishes and bruschetta. Maybe even flat breads. I am on the lookout for an iron pot.

Here is the fish-a-cookin’.

Buon Anno to all! I hope it is a Happy and Healthy 2016!

Thanksgiving number two in Italia

Happy Thanksgiving a tutti! Susan and Gary again hosted a bunch of folks for the Thanksgiving feast. You can take a look at last years feast in the Archives. We again had Calagrana Agriturismo make our turkey and all the antipasti. The turkey wasn’t as big as last year. “Only” 28 pounds. Beautifully cooked. I brought the mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. Joseph and Paul brought two pies, Susan made a pie and Jim and Denise brought a tart. The attendees were eight Americans and six Italians. Some of the Italians came last year. One named Fabio, brought his parents this time. A fine time was had by all. We were, as stuffed as the turkey. Fabio lamented that there was only ONE Thanksgiving a year! He is a real fan.

Susan’s table. Photo by Susan.

Pictures from Calagrana of the bird in progress. Photos by Ely.


Antipasti. Photo by Fabio.

Fabio’s mom with the finished product. Photo by Fabio.

On actual Thanksgiving we went shopping in Colestrada at the Ipercoop. It was pretty quiet. We noticed signs everywhere advertising Black Friday. Thank you America! It is kind of odd because they don’t have the Thanksgiving holiday to make the Friday date significant like we do. All the European Amazons had huge sales too.

On Friday we got our town Christmas tree. It is much smaller this year. There was speculation among the Americans that it was small because the town had bought a bunch of lights to string above the piazza, spending their tree budget perhaps? It is a pretty tree though. Not sure when they will decorate and light it.


Feels like winter now!

During the night we had strong winds and rain. It was a cold front which finally chased our beautiful weather away. Oh well, had to happen sometime. BUT I was surprised to notice to our northwest … was that snow on top of the mountains?! The mountains are a little taller than our nearby ones up there so I guess it was just high enough that the rain fell as snow.

This is Thanksgiving week back home and we are again invited to the feast at Susan and Gary’s house. We decided to move it to Saturday for the convenience of the Italians who are invited. So far it is: Susan and Gary, me and Luther, Denise and Jim (visitors from the US), Simona and Simone, Fabio and Fabio’s parents from Milano. Simona, Simone and Fabio were there last year and enjoyed it. Fabio’s parents don’t speak English so Susan is seating Luther next to them so they can talk. I am making the cranberry sauce again. Denise and Jim brought the fruit with them. Yay! Ely is again cooking our turkey. Should be a nice celebration and I am looking forward to it. Missing my sister though. It is such a family holiday to me. But I’ll be seeing her soon so that takes some of the sting out.

The Umbertidese are gearing up for Natale or Christmas season. They have strung small lights across the piazza and up and down the little streets. I looked at my blog from last year and see they brought the tree November 22nd so we should be seeing that soon.

Tasting the oil

On Saturday we drove over to Calagrana where Ely is being held hostage by her son who has broken out in Chicken Pox! She put some of the Olio Nuovo into two small tins for us to try.

First I toasted the bread on the stovetop (wish I had had a fire to toast it over!) until it was nice and charred.

Next I drizzled the pretty green oil over it.DSC05200

My report. It was delizioso!! Peppery and acidic. Nothing like I have ever had in the U.S. Ely tells me it is best used for drizzling on bruschetta, soups, meats, or salads rather than using it for cooking.

We are enjoying a really, really beautiful November here. The temperatures are near 70F every day with bright blue skies. We are so lucky! It has been nothing like the last two years which, the locals say, were very uncommon.

Here is the river with the changing trees.

Helping with the harvest!

I was so excited to find out our friend who owns Calagrana was harvesting her olives and needed help. I had a couple of reservations as to whether I could hold up to the physical effort (not as young as I used to be!) but thought the opportunity was too good to pass up.

We didn’t leave Umbertide until around 11AM so they had been working a couple of hours. The olive grove is way up on top of the mountain spread out around a lovely casale (big farm house) owned by Ely’s English friend. Ely and Alberto tend to the trees and manage the harvest and production and share some of the oil with her. A win-win situation. She had a neighbor helping her plus a couple of other pickers and the gardeners of the grounds. Her neighbor had brought what Ely called a basher. It had long tines which vibrated in different directions. You lifted it up into the tree to get at the high branches and it shook the olives down.

We helped spread the big, green nets to catch the olives and put up stakes to hold up the down-hill side so the olives wouldn’t roll off. We hand harvested the lower branches. There was a mixture of black, fully ripe ones and green ones. The mixture makes the oil more flavorful. We worked until about 1:30 and had to leave because my Italian class was at 2:30. Also we discovered that you must dress in layers as the morning is very cold and by noon it is hot in the sun while working (we were baking). Dress like an onion, Ely said. We told Ely we’d come back tomorrow (properly dressed this time) to help finish up and accompany the fruit to the mill for the crush. Here are some pictures:

Luther managing the nets.

Tree partly harvested.

You place the metal stakes at the downhill side to catch the rolling olives.

Bin full of olives. The leaves need to be mostly removed from the box.

After you knock them all off the nets are gathered and the olives are rolled into one spot, then dumped into the crates.

Olives ready to be harvested.

Ely and Luther hand picking while Catarina works the “basher” on the opposite side.