Springtime at Mr. Ciccone’s…Paradiso!

What could be better than hanging out with Mr. Ciccone on a beautiful spring morning?       My friend and mentor, Giovanni Ciccone.             Garlic planted last fall will be ready to harvest in July.             His grape vines are beginning to leaf out. He… Read more »

It’s Time to Wake Up Your Fig Tree

If your fig tree has been tucked away for a long winter’s nap, it’s time to pull back the covers and nudge it out of its slumber. Most fig trees in the colder climates of the north need to have winter protection so whether your tree hibernated buried in a trench, spent the winter in its own little cabin or stood stoically, bundled in blankets… Read more »

Foraging for Dandelions

It’s the perfect time to forage for dandelions, AKA cicoria in Italian. After the past week of warm temperatures and light spring rain, they’re popping up everywhere. Don’t wait though. Before you know it, their yellow flowers will blanket the hillsides, a sure sign that the small window for optimal dandelion harvesting has closed. If you like old school food… Read more »

Fascination of Figs

The allure of fig growing goes beyond the sweet reward of the sun-ripened fruit. For many, figs evoke a powerful connection to the past, and the challenges of growing them are outweighed by the joy they bring. The fig has always been a revered fruit to Italian Americans. It adapts and thrives in a land not… Read more »

Braiding Onions and Garlic

Nothing says old school Italian garden like a strand of braided garlic or onions. They have that wonderfully rustic, yet artistic look. For the Italian gardener, braiding is probably not done for the artistic quality as much as the simple, utilitarian purpose of a space saving, practical way to dry and to prepare garlic or onions… Read more »

Growing and Using Chamomile

June 6, 2012 I found chamomile drying on the Macchione’s back porch today. Giovanni had cut it several days earlier and put it on a chair to dry. During my last visit, it was growing in a flower bed beside the house. I smelled the drying bundle and it had a sweet, earthy smell. Some people say it… Read more »

Our Website: A Harvest of Italian American Heritage

Maybe it’s because I had loving immigrant grandparents on both my mother’s and father’s sides of the family and I grew up thinking that all grandparents spoke with an accent and gardened and cooked continually and that food was the center of everything. Maybe that’s why now, I’d rather spend my days helping my 93 year-old… Read more »