When I first started working in Europe a few years back, my first surprise came as I ate my first tomato in the Slovenian hotel that would be my home for the next 5 months, was that it was good! Really good. I had dreamed of eating tomatos like that since I was a kid growing up in Southern Illinois and we had so many "big boy and girl" tomatos that we had one whole refrigerator on our screened in back porch that was dedicated to just holding all those juicy tomatos on hand for eating like apples on a hot August day. Living in the high altitude of the Colorado Rockies for many years left me yearning for those days of fruits and vegetables that were so good raw or lightly cooked of days gone by. It has always been one of my most favorite ways of enjoying fruits and vegetables, as themselves, unadorned or modestly so. now of course there is a trend to get back to that in America and I think that rural america has never stayed too far away form the fresh foods served at home, but living at over 9,000ft made garedening a real challenge and the farmers market of the summer a long anticipated opening.
What a revelation to continue on my journey here in Europe and find that fresh food is more of a given than not and to discover the variety and diversity of fruits and vegetables of my youth and a few that I was unfamiliar with. Starting out in Tuscany my first summer there I was amazed by the diversty of color, size and flavour of all the powdery colored plums. So luciously tempting they were and thoroughly satisfiying. The figs were another delight worth waiting the whole summer for. But right now here in Piedmont, we are in the midst of the bountiful harvest of fruit , fruit, and more fruit. The heavily laden plum trees are giving them up to a more than willing audience. We've been making thick jam and plum cakes and crisps to make the heart sing, if not for just the sight of all those colored jewels. Mmmm