Eating Local

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A tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean was one day invaded by a monster. The Mega Supermarket appeared… big, bold and very new. Driven by curiosity and lured by very cheap prices the mass was attracted like bedazzled mozzies to a bright light.

Why do I feel so offended at the appearance of this ‘new’ venture? Did they need their 499th outlet on Gozo? Really? And to add insult to injury…why are they offering tasteless fruits and vegetables on their shelves?

Gozo is quite small and remote. Some people call it ‘the place where the devil forgot his slipper’. A tiny and beautiful island. Our arid, yet fertile land, the sun and the Mediterranean breezes are three key factors that contribute to the production of fantastic agricultural produce. We have amazing tomatoes, world famous oranges, perfumed wild indigenous chamomile, bountiful crops of broad beans and artichokes, prickly pears and figs that grow wild, sweet summer fruits and glistening bright red Pomegranates that taste like no other.

Not only do our fruits and vegetables taste better, they are grown by hardworking folk that are driven by passion. Working the land is no easy 9 to 5 job. Pruning, trimming, planting, sowing, watering, harvesting, picking….. does it ever end?

I meet people like Lucia and her husband _ working hard in their asparagus fields, Lina and Joe in their orange groves, Gianni with his tomato fields, Pawlu with fields of broccoli and cauliflower, and many others like them.

It is so beautiful to see seasonal crops appear in the market. Rewarding too, after waiting eagerly for the arrival of new produce. Broad beans and artichokes in March.  Strawberries in April.The first Summer fruits in June. Pomegranates in October and the first mandarins in December.  As one leaves the stage (our kitchens!) a new ‘protagonist’ moves in to steal the limelight….

So, I have made my choice. In respect of my land and out of respect for the hard working faces that express love for my land. I buy and eat local.  

Claire Borg

 

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