While we’re sitting here at Drink Dine Discover HQ, Suzie the hostess of our Tuscan food and wine tours, is hard at work in the fields.
This month sees us planting 70 fruit trees, everything ranging from apples and pears, to quinces and kiwis, walnuts and hazelnuts. And they need watering, lots of watering. Because we’re an organic farm and don’t use chemicals and won’t be treating our trees we’ve done research and opted for ancient varieties of trees which typically have grown well in this area, may have a lower and possibly “uglier” yield, but the trees will be more much resistant to disease. And of course we’re doing our bit to help improve Italy’s biodiversity!
And we’ve just hoed the vineyard … by hand! Our vineyard, which is into its fourth year this year, still needs to be weeded by hand. We can use the tractor to cut the grass between the rows, but round each individual vine needs to be done by hand to make sure we don’t damage the plants- and there’s no weed killer in our vineyard, just slog and sweat! We’ll be harvesting and producing wine for the first time this year. It’s so exciting!
April is also the month for pruning the olive trees. Each year we seriously prune a third of each grove, so each tree gets a good haircut once every three years. Olives need a good pruning every now and then but done in rotation we don’t compromise the harvest which this year, fingers crossed will be bountiful!
We are all busy in the hedgerows picking wild herbs such as chicory and dandelion leaves to put into our salads, great purifiers in the springtime, and making stinging nettle infusions…plus the first post-winter mushrooms are out and wild asparagus, if you know where to look.”