The Italian Garden Project | Chestnuts 1

Chestnuts 101

If there was anything revered as much as figs in the Italian American household where I grew up, it was chestnuts. Apparently the two are near and dear to the hearts of folks of other nationalities as well.   In my recent quest to find the perfect chestnut after being disappointed for the last several years with those… Read more »

Making Calabrian Zeppole

On a recent trip to the Bronx to investigate winter damage to fig trees, I had fun learning to make a Calabrian version of Zeppole with Caterina Borromeo. Caterina is from the town of Palermiti, province of Catanzaro and came to the US in 1958. Zeppole are a fried dough pastry with regional variations that range from sweet and cake-like… Read more »

Caring for Fig Shoots, Part II

In Part 2 of Caring for Fig Shoots video post below, Rodolfo Ranallo of Pittsburgh describes how he will cover his new shoots to protect them during the coming winter and how he will dig all but a few in order to grow a tree instead of a bush. This fall Rodolfo will place stakes around the perimeter, spaced… Read more »

Caring for Fig Shoots, Part I

During our fig tree growing classes in Pittsburgh, we visit Rodolfo Ranallo who has grown fig trees since his arrival in the US in 1970. Rodolfo is from Ateleta, Italy in the province of L’Aquila in the region of Abruzzo. This was the first winter that he didn’t bury his fig tree. He had seen other trees… Read more »

New shoots coming up from the base of the fig tree

The Resilient Fig

The springtime ritual of unwrapping the fig tree usually brings a sense of anticipation and excitement for Bruno Garofalo of Pittsburgh. He is especially eager to unwrap his two prize fig trees that he brought with him as small shoots from Italy in the lining of his coat in 1961. He buried them each fall until… Read more »

Did Your Fig Tree Survive the Winter?

Now that Spring has finally decided to arrive, it’s time to uncover, unearth or remove your fig tree from its winter confinement.   During a visit to Michele’s earlier today, we inspected his trees for signs that they had successfully made it through this particularly long and severe winter.   We first took a look… Read more »

Curing Pork Loins with Mariano Floro

In the video below, Mariano Floro describes his process for making cured pork loins which he refers to as capicolla. He starts with a whole pork loin that he cuts into three pieces. He pokes a hole through one end of each piece and threads a cotton string through to later hang the loins to cure. He rubs each piece with about 2 TBLS…. Read more »

Mariano Makes Sausage and Cured Pork Loin

We visited Mariano Floro this week to learn how he makes his wonderful fresh and dried sausages and cured pork loin. He graciously shared his vast knowledge and lots of amazing food and wine.

Old School Winemaking

In the video below, brothers-in-law Francesco and Vincenzo talk about winemaking in Italy when they were young. Like most families at that time, theirs had small vineyards. They describe the process of crushing the grapes, which was done by stomping with their feet because they didn’t have mechanical crushers, not even hand-cranked ones. The grapes… Read more »

Awesome Eataly!

In October, The Italian Garden Project was invited to La Scuola di Eataly to celebrate the beauty and bounty of the Italian American vegetable garden during a Meatless Monday cooking demonstration and dinner. Using garden-fresh produce provided by our Italian American gardening friends, Chef Alicia Walter delighted the dinner guests with an amazing array of vegetable-based dishes, two of which are shared… Read more »