Italian green thumb grows abundance

Jennifer Janssen

CHIUSDINO, Italy— Carmen Zandarin clutched a carrot freshly harvested from one of three gardens she tends to on the farm at Spannochia. In the background two interns gathered rows of ripened garlic from the dark, rich soil. The amount of vegetables plucked from the garden varies depending on the amount of guests that will be fed a fresh breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Carmen’s flawless knowledge of each and every vegetable on the farm means a synchronized order of how each is harvested throughout every season. Through March and into April, wild herbs become prime ingredients for cooking because many of their leaves are still young and soft, not bitter and tough to taste. Carmen points to a particularly green verbena plant, plucks a leaf, lifts it to her nose, and then rubs it on her wrists. The aroma of verbena fends off mosquitoes and other pests when the scent of the herb is released onto the skin, she said.

“My objective is more is possible,” Carmen said in her thick Italian accent, slowly choosing her sentences in English. Gardener at Spannochia

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