Orto (pl.Orti)

Community GardenTraditional Way of LifeCompostareTraditional NeighborhoodSenior Friendly Site


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All around Massa Marittima you'll find small in between allotment gardens. In Italian they're called Orto - pl. Orti, and many people in small towns like Massa Marittima have on, especially elderly. For many old folks it's the biggest part of their daily activity, of course mixed with a lot of chatting and smoking. Although many people use some kind of pesticide, the little allotment gardens provide a good amount of vegetables all year round, just grown down the street. Hopefully kids will continue gardening after their grand parents stop, so people can continue having their homegrown zucchini, pomodori (tomatoes), carciofi (artichokes), insalata (salad) and other delicious greens and herbs.

The cultivation season in Maremma is pretty stretched (at least for someone like me coming from a Nordic country). Salad can be grown all year around and the different parts of the wonderful carciofo is harvested all year round. Apparently the name derives from the arabic al-kharshûf.
In the spring you harvest the thing that looks like a crown. It grows out of the ground like a pineapple on a stem, and when you cut one off another grows back, at least 2-3 times. In the fall, after the plant has flowered, you eat the strong leaves that grow around the stem. Then at some point you bend the entire stem and stick its little "head" into the earth, creating a little Gobbo (hunch), which you later eat when you bend it straight again and let it start a new season.
You find it on the menue in many restaurants throughout the Maremma: fritto (fried), A la Guidea (stuffed with parsley, garlic and speck= fantastic) or in Torelli or other pasta dishes.

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Orto (pl.Orti)

image adăugat de Maremma Italy


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