The Organic Grove

The desire to be able to eat delicious fruits right after picking them from the tree, and the awareness that organic farming is necessary to do so, have led me to plant the ancient and mostly local fruit trees that make up the family grove of the Ca'Matra farmhouse.

Towards the end of February, when temperatures become milder, I start the pruning. First of all I take a careful look at each tree, looking for parts that have been damaged by the weather that the grove has withstood during winter, and cut them off.

Then, I try to give each tree a rational shape, based on its characteristics, in order to let the foliage receive the adequate amount of sunlight and wind. Every cut has to be thought through. It is paramount to be able to tell whether the gem and branch you are dealing with will bear fruit or not, and to think of what the most natural development of the tree might be.

I deem pruning to be an art that encompasses poetry, imagination and deep knowledge of and love for nature.
The hours I spend with Umberto, an expert pruner, are delightful. He helps me with thinking about what the best cut might be, to try and respect the natural development of the tree.
Umberto is the recipient of the experience that his family has gathered through generations, that he shares with me through the rhythmic clicking of the shears, proverbs and stories about the long gone times, that let me acquire some of the wisdom of a
rural word that is now disappearing.

Towards the end of March the grove comes alive, and with it the colors of the blossoming start appearing. Soon the pastel pink of the apricot tree will blend with the purple pink of the peach tree and the snow white of the plum and cherry trees.

The flowers of the apple and quince trees blossom in the middle of April. Their pink buds and white petals release a delicate scent, and make them look wonderful.

After the flowers have fallen off, the phytosanitary defense of the grove begins, ending days before the harvest.

The organic farming method I have chosen uses copper oxychloride, bordeaux mixture, nettle macerate and natural pyrethrum.

The fruit I harvest from June to October doesn't always look as good as the one that ends up in the food market, but I promise you its taste is delicious, something you can rarely find nowadays, and moreover, when I bite it I am sure I'm not eating "chemistry".

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