Bergoglio is a common Italian surname from the Piedemont region of Italy, although in this case, this man is called Jorge (Giorgio, in Italian) and he was born in Argentina. Yes, that Jorge Bergoglio, also known as Pope Francis.
In the last few months, there has been a uprising and controversy when a video went viral--of Pope Francis pulling his ringed hand away from people as he meets. People are angry because HE isn't showing any respect for the Church or its traditions.
The video that caused this controversy was from video footage of meeting of pilgrims after the Pope celebrated Mass in the Holy House in Loreto, Italy, on March 25, 2019. In this short video, Pope Francis appears to pull his hand away each time a person approaches to greet him and kiss his hand or ring. But this video didn't exactly show everything that happened that day. In fact, when approached by nuns, in every instance, he allowed them to kiss his hand or ring. But, when it came to the lay people that day, he pulled his hand away from each... (Watch the complete video on this page)
The custom of kissing the ring of the pope or a bishop has been a gesture of respect in the Church for longer than can be remembered, but likely started in the late Middle Ages. In fact, when I was a child, I remember having to kiss our bishop's ring whenever he visited our church. This ring-kissing is called baciamano (in Italian, literally "hand kiss”), but in practice it refers to kissing the ring worn by any bishop, but especially the Papal Ring of the Fisherman worn by every Pope.
Each Pope chooses, designs or selects his own ring to wear during his Papacy. The Fisherman’s Ring is one of several rings typically worn by the Roman pontiff. The ring takes its name from its image of St. Peter as a fisherman, which became the standard design around the mid-15th century.
The first record of the ring’s use was on two letters of Clement IV in 1265 and 1266, used as a wax seal in private letters in place of the official lead seal used for solemn papal documents. In 1842, use of the ring and wax seal were replaced by a stamp, but each Pope still receives a unique Ring of the Fisherman at the start of his papacy, which is then destroyed soon after his death.
Pope Francis doesn't always wear the Papal Ring, and while outside of official Papal ceremonies, Francis is typically seen wearing only his episcopal ring. It is customary to kiss the ring of any bishop, and being that the Pope also holds the title of Bishop of Rome, he is also technically a Bishop.
Kissing a Bishop's ring is done out of reverence for his dignity as a successor of the apostles, and the hand of a priest, as it has been anointed with chrism to consecrate the Body of Christ.
The custom of baciamano started to change with St. Paul VI in the last decades of the 20th century, when he eliminated other forms of showing Papal obedience and subservience, such as kissing the pope’s foot, shoulder, and cheek. Kissing the Pope's ring was starting to fall from favor. In the past, one typically bowed while kissing the ring, but in later years, the bowing has also started to disappear.
Some Vatican insiders claim that Francis retreats from traditional Vatican Court Customs, wanting to further simplify the ceremonial by omitting the greeting of genuflection and kissing his ring. He sees this as a lessen to the people of his Church that he is also a common man, and only Christ Himself is worth of such respect. He will still allow those "of the cloth", such as nuns and priests to kiss his hand/ring (as is seen in the unedited video of the event in question). He is respecting the internal hierarchy of the Catholic Church in doing this. The Pope is in fact, their leader. But he does not wish everyday people to treat him as if he were some sort of religious idol. He is an "everyman Pope". So he often pulls pack his hand as a lesson for us not to idolize him.
Other Reasons for
Pulling Back His Hand
Still others, point out that the Pope is a senior citizen, and as such, has a weakened immune system. It's prudent to lessen the contact with parishioners, especially during events when the Pope is likely to have thousands try to kiss his hand. Even politicians on their political hand-shaking and baby-kissing campaigns have their aides squirt their palms with Purell after each public event.
Anecdotally, I will confess to changing my habits when food shopping when my son was a toddler, riding in the supermarket cart while I shopped. In the first couple of years, it seemed both of us were getting sick a lot... 4-6 times a year we would catch colds. But then I started to use the antiseptic wipes available in supermarkets to wipe down the handle of our shopping cart, and we magically stopped catching colds!
I think we can all give the Pope the benefit of doubt on this matter. He is an older man and can catch colds like any other mortal human. He is also a humble Pope and doesn't like being treated like a king or monarch or even the embodiment of the Christ Himself.
I think this can be a teachable moment. Use wipes at the supermarket --my lesson. The Pope is just a man, like all others --Francis' lesson. We are all children of God while we are in this mortal form. Germs DO exist and are transferred instantly by touch.
There, I've said my piece. Now, does anyone have a Wipe?
Most Italians work long hours. In the average business, their weekday hours are 9.00 am (9:00) to 1.00 pm (13:00) and from 2.30 pm (14:30) to 6.00 pm (18:00), from Monday to Friday. They use the 24 hour military clock.
Many people will work well after 6.00 pm, especially true for managers and entrepreneurs. This is one of the reasons they take long lunches--called riposa--typically from 1 pm until 3 - 3:30 pm. Even most churches are closed from noon until 3 pm.
There are many jobs which have their workers come in from Monday through Saturday, but they only work from 8.00 am to 2.00 pm. When a business is closed on Saturday, they might also add a few afternoon hours for their employees. According to Italian labor laws, the number of hours worked in a week can reach a maximum of 40. The average time, including overtime, cannot exceed 48 hours.
Workers in Italy are guaranteed a minimum of 4 weeks paid days off for vacation and holidays. Some unions negotiate even longer periods of paid vacation/holiday days off.
Lunch breaks are typically shorter in large cities and restaurants are open during the lunch hours. In smaller towns, even restaurants will be closed during riposa because most people prefer to eat at home. (But food is available at "bars", which are open).
In almost all cases, many shops, even in large cities, will be closed for riposa with their hours listed on the door.
In addition, during the August holiday season of Ferragosto, when workers take from 2-4 weeks off for holiday, you might see a sign on shop or restaurant doors saying "Chiuso Per Ferie" (Closed for Vacation) with a date when they will return from vacation.
Most Italians take a two week vacation (called Ferragosto on August 15th) either before or after August 15th. Most large industries are closed during August and many museums and restaurants might also be closed. Many people take the entire month to rest and relax before returning to work and school on September 4th.
The other period of time when holidays might affect normal business hours is the period between Christmas, New Year's Day and the Epiphany on January 6. Since Italy is a Catholic country, many national holidays coincide with religious holidays.
In addition, all Italian cities celebrate the patron saint as a legal holiday. All businesses are closed on...
Enzo Schillizzi (b 1955 - d 2009) lived in the small Albanian-Italian village of San Costantino Albanese above the banks of the Sarmento River. The artist spent almost all his life in this small village just outside of Potenza, painting the local life and culture in murals all around the area.
His work focused on the cultural symbolism of arbëresh tradition and folklore, especially on religious rites, for example, illustrating Nusazit, the pyrotechnic puppets of the saints day of San Constantino Albanese. Proud of the region's heritage, he recorded his impressions of the romantic and violent history of Basilicata and the briganti, robber/rebels who ran rampant during the post-unification period if Italy. Other subjects were his own interpretations of of painters such as Velasquez and Picasso.
Some works are childlike, with indeed a Picasso-esque loose hand, while others show his extraordinary skill as a draftsman.
After his untimely death, in July 2009, an effort has been made to research, document and restore and preserve his wonderful murals in addition to paintings privately owned. His colors often remind the viewer of the muted and natural palette from Basilicata itself--wheat, the varied tones of greens from the mountains and valleys, and the more vibrant colors of sky and flora.
This research has been possible through the efforts of family and friends, who helped to identify and search out several paintings and gain permission of the owners to allow photographing them for posterity. Despite his works being dispersed in various places, a significant number still remain in San Costantino in private collections houses and in public spaces. Some his more complex works remind me of the work of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera while others have a mix of abstract and cubism in their compositions. After seeing his work, I'm convinced that his imagery would be well suited to ceramics and mosaic tiles. The town of San Constantino is blessed to have much of his work on public display, honoring their wonderful heritage.
MICHAELANGELUS BUONARROTI FLORENTINE MADE THIS
The Pieta (passion or pity) showing the Holy Mother Mary holding the lifeless body of her son Jesus, is the only sculpture that Michelangelo ever signed--on the sash across Mary's breast. When I first saw the Pieta at the 1963 Worlds Fair in New York, I noticed this signature and can remember thinking, "What a bold place to sign a piece of art"...
Michelangelo was only 24 when he sculpted this masterpiece. He was young and proud, perhaps even cocky about his skills. I can relate to this. I left school early, and at 17 got a job as a sculptor's apprentice in a metal sculpting studio that designed churches around the world. I was so cocky about my own skills, I couldn't live with making sculptures to the exacting standards of the blueprints made by our studio's Master Sculptor. I knew I couldn't last long there.
My mother always claimed I could draw before I talked, and as a child I dreamed of being a painter and sculptor. Michelangelo was certainly a child prodigy and also dreamed of being an artist. He stuck to his painting and sculpture and by age 21, he had moved to Rome and had already sculpted his first masterpiece, his Bacchus.
For me, a cocky artist who knew he didn't want to starve in some garret somewhere in Greenwich Village (there were no future Popes or Medici supporting my artistic future), I turned to a more technical and commercial form of art--photography. At 21 years of age, I had already advanced to be a top photographer in one of the largest commercial photography studios in the country. By 24 I had opened my own photo studio in my Manhattan loft.
At 24, Michelangelo had already created his Pieta. Cocky indeed--deservedly so, perhaps. Raw talent feeds this malevolent human trait, especially in youth. With more experience and gaining skills, I learned not to be so cocky (there is always something more to learn, even in later years), but Michelangelo's youthful cockiness and pride in his skills drove him to sign the Pieta in a bold manner...
You see, after creating the Pieta, the sculpture was on display in the Chapel of Santa Maria della Febbre where the Sacristy stands today. When visiting his Pieta one day, Michelangelo overheard a group of Lombards critiquing his masterpiece and was enraged when he heard them attribute the work to the "Gubbo di Milano" (Hunchback of Milan), referring to Cristofor Salari, a well known sculptor 15 years his senior. Some say that this attribution lasted for quite some time before Michelangelo reacted, but many historians claim that Michelangelo went to the Pieta the same night with torch and chisels and carved his name on Mary's sash.
It's curious that as he matured and gained self-confidence, Michelangelo never felt the need to sign any of his future works. I can identify with this also. It's often enough for the artist's soul just to create the work... to do his craft... to keep creating. The cockiness fades and is replaced with an internal self-confidence.
When one examines the details of the Pieta closely, perhaps there is a realization that the youthful cockiness and pride was well deserved. Go slowly as you look at each one of these photos. Consider that Michelangelo has performed some sort of magical alchemy, turning stone into flesh, with the still warm veins of Jesus still containing his blood...
Copyright 2019, Jerry Finzi/GrandVoyageItaly.com - All Rights Reserved
Not for reproduction without expressed permission.
“If Christ is God, He cannot sin, and if suffering was a sin in and by itself, He could not have suffered and died for us. However, since He took the most horrific death to redeem us, He showed us in fact that suffering and pain have great power.”
― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly,
In Puglia, Basilicata, Lazio, Umbria, Lombardy and other regions of Italy, many towns and villages celebrate la Festa di San Giuseppe (March 19th) in a unique way... by lighting Fuochi nella Notte, fires of the night--or bonfires. The bonfires and festivities are on various days (depending on the town), from March 17th through the 19th. Known by different names, the bonfire festival might also contain the words Torciata (torch), Fiaccolata (torchlight procession), Falò (fire).
For example, in Tuscany's Pitigliano, the event is called Torchiata di San Giuseppe with people dressed in medieval costumes and a procession of men and boys dressed in hooded monk's robes carrying flaming reed torches that will help build the bonfire. After the bonfire has burned down to ashes, tradition calls for people to collect and keep the ashes, ensuring their good luck in the coming spring.
As with other holidays beginning in the New Year and throughout lent, the lighting of bonfires has a long history going back to the time of pagan worship. Through the last 2000 years, the activity has morphed into a Christian tradition. This tradition also coincides with the need to burn the trimmings from vines, olive trees and other woody crops.
While Christians claim the fires are a representation of the good father, Saint Joseph, striving to keep the infant Jesus warm during winter nights, others say the tradition is from the ancient Romans celebrating the dark winter being overtaken by the light of spring. Many modern observers say it's just another way for fun-loving Italians to throw yet another party, for as with most festa and sagre, there is always the food, and a great sense of community.
And if the truth is to be told, Italians love bonfires so much, you will also come across other Fuochi on other saint day festivals across Italy.
Maria Giuseppa Robucci, better known as Nonna Peppa in Italy, is currently the oldest living person in Europe. Nonna Peppa has yet another birthday coming up... on March 20th she will turn 116!
This centenarian lives today in Apricena, Puglia with her daughter Filomena and her family. She was born in 1903 in nearby Poggio Imperiale where she married farmer Nicola Nargiso and bore five children, nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. She managed a local bar along with her husband for many years, is very religious and claims to have known Saint Padre Pio personally. For the last few years she holds the title of honorary mayor of Poggio Imperiale, making her the oldest mayor in Italy.
Her secret to longevity? Nonna Peppa doesn't drink or smoke.
Today, March 8th, is International Women's Day and in Italy it's the time when mimosas are blossoming with their golden color. All across Italy women are presented lovingly with a bouquet of mimosa flowers to say "Thank you"... thank you for being Mama, that you for being my sister, thank you for being a great daughter, thank you for being a fantastic co-worker, or thank you for being a wonderful wife. March 8th is called La Festa delle Donne in Italy.
While in Italy the day has become almost like Mother's Day here in the States, the observance started in 1909 by the Socialist Party of America, and was held in New York City after a sweat shop factory burned to the ground, killing 145 workers--mostly young women who were underpaid and had to work in unsafe conditions. This event and the observance was the de facto birth of the modern Women's Movement. Sadly, in Italy and around the world, women are still struggling to achieve equal pay for equal work, among many other issues.
The tradition of a gift of mimosas dates back to 1946 when the feminists, Rita Montagnana and Teresa Mattei, came up with the idea of women offering the bouquets as a symbol of mutual respect, sisterhood and support. Mimosa was one of the few flowers in bloom on the date. The Mimosa also represents strength and endurance, being a tough plant that can survive adverse conditions in Italy.
Oddly, being originally a Socialist observance, it seems that in Italy, the Festa delle Donne has been commercialized... another day where bouquets of Mimosa tied with yellow ribbons are sold in supermarkets, bars and tobacconists all over Italy. It's become expected that fathers, sons and husbands also give the flowers to the women in their lives. The commercialization of La Festa delle Donne has made it more like Mothers Day and might be losing some of its original meaning based on solidarity of women's issues. Even chocolate companies offer their dolci in yellow packaging. In some parts of Italy the Festa is celebrated on the closest Sunday to March 8th, and special events are held, such as a procession of mimosa decorated gondolas in Venice and a regatta for female rowers. .
The commercialization of the Women's Movement in Italy
From Grand Voyage Italy to all Women... Auguri!
Support each other and keep up the fight for equality!
Continued from Part 1...
With the advent of this international distribution of peeled tomatoes (pelati), the ancient fruit finally came back to the Americas... not via its neighbor, Mexico, but the long way around, through Italy and Europe.
But there are over 7,500 tomato varieties grown for various purposes. Heirloom tomatoes are becoming more and more popular as home gardeners and organic farmers that they have more variety and develop incredible flavor. There is more disease resistance with hybrid tomatoes, however. The categories of tomatoes is as follows:
Globe tomatoes are the shape of commercially produced tomatoes, but is also a shape category for heirloom tomato types. They are used for slicing for sandwiches, eating fresh or for wedges added to salads.
Beefsteak tomatoes are very large tomatoes where one slice would fit a large sandwich. They usually have very muscular shoulders and have arguably the sweetest taste. Thick slices work well for sandwiches or caprese. Some varieties can produce fruit weighing up to several pounds.
Oxheart tomatoes can range in from small to as big as beefsteaks, and are shaped like large heart or strawberry. Perfect salad tomato.
Plum-Shaped tomatoes, are plum shaped and are often called Paste tomatoes, but not all plum shapes have the meaty interior of a paste tomato. Some varieties can grow quite long like a horned pepper. Fleshy ones, like the D.O.P protected San Marzano, are used in sauces, while other types are useful in salads.
Pear-Shaped tomatoes can be either a paste type or a smaller one with less flesh. They come in a wide variety of colors--red, orange, purple, yellow--and can make a great statement in salads and pasta recipes.
Cherry tomatoes are small and typically about 1" around. The flavor is usually very sweet and are usually eaten whole or halved in salads.
Grape tomatoes, are much smaller than Cherry tomatoes, as small as a blueberry or currants, for use in salads.
Campari tomatoes are sweet and typically come with the vine still attached in a cluster. They can range from red to purple to orange. They are juicy, have low acidity, are bigger than cherry tomatoes, but are smaller than plum tomatoes.
Ribbed tomatoes are typically large and can come in a variety of colors and varieties. In Italy, this is one of the most common types of tomatoes available. They can be meaty like a beefsteak, but always juicy.
Vesuvio Piennolo has an elongated, oval shape with a pointed tip (spongillo). The skin is thick and the flesh is firm with a sweet, tangy flavor. It is commonly thought of as a long storage tomato and is seen throughout the Campania region hanging in home gardeners' sheds or garages as bunches, lasting from September throughout most of the winter months. They are also a common tomato being sold in hanging bunches in outdoor markets. The Piennolo is one of the most prized tomatoes in southern Italy.
Most types of tomato come in a variety of colors: deep red, pink-red, purple-pink, deep-purple, green, striped, yellow, pale yellow, ivory colored, orange and "black" (a very dark purple).
The color of tomatoes can generally be seen as an indicator of flavor:
Reds are sweet and higher acidity
Pink can be sweeter than red and milder
Yellow/Orange being sweet or fruity with medium to low acidity
Pale Colors being milder with less acid
Darker Black/Purple have high acidity and might be more intense and almost smokey in flavor
Striped varieties can be tangy, fruity with high acid and sugar levels (great for salsa).
The Myths about San Marzano Tomatoes
The best known tomato for canning became a plum shaped variety grown in the San Marzano region, near Naples. It's no small coincidence that this is in Southern Italy, where 80% of Italian immigrants came from. San Marzano became the go-to tomato for canning over 120 years ago, and is still the primary tomato used in canned tomatoes--and even for the production of sun dried tomatoes. San Marzano are almost exclusively canned. Fresh ones can be found in Italy, but almost never in the United States.
The San Marzano tomato has DOP protected status by the European Union. DOP stands for Denominazione di Origine Protetta (literally “Protected Designation of Origin”). Look for their seal on a can to make sure they are the real deal. It it says something like "San Marzano Type", it isn't the real thing, which can only be grown in a specific area surrounding Mount Vesuvius.
If you are buying tomato seeds, you will only be able to grow a San Marzano "type" because you cannot match the climate and volcanic rich soils where they are grown in Italy. Although these are thought to be the "best" Italian tomato, they are primarily grown for industrial farming, canning and sun-drying in Italy--mainly because their high acidity helps preserve them in the canning process. Yes, you might find actual San Marzano tomatoes in local markets in the area near Mount Vesuvius where they are grown, but again, they are not the best tomato--even within Italy--in my opinion. You can think of them as the best Italian imported canned tomato for sauces, not the most sweet or best for eating fresh. And don't forget to add some sugar to cut their acidity when using them for sauce.
The first Italian cannery was built in 1875 by Francesco Cirio, an early supporter of the San Marzano tomato. His company picked, peeled, packed and shipped canned tomatoes all throughout Italy--and later to America.
The reason for it's success is not because it's the best tasting tomato... it's simply because it was developed and hybridized from three other varieties which made it withstand mechanical harvesting techniques put in place in the late 1800s to satisfy the needs of the growing canning industry. Its secret? High acidity! Sort of takes the romance out of thinking the San Marzano is "the best" Italian tomato, doesn't it? No great loss.
Truth be told, the San Marzano is so acidic that all great Italian chefs know it needs a handful of sugar to offset the overly high acidic content necessary for long storage and canning. Lucas and I had an "artisinal pizza" once in a town near us where the pizza chef swore he used nothing but "the best San Marzano" imported tomatoes as his sauce. I could tell. By the end of the meal our lips were burning. For some really sweet tomatoes, think Heirloom...
Growing Your Own Heirloom Tomatoes
It's fairly easy to grow heirloom tomatoes from seed, but a simpler way to get started growing the amazing variety of tastes is to buy heirloom plants in the spring at your local nurseries. Stay away from anything labeled "hybrid". You cannot save seeds from a hybrid tomato--it won't look anything like the mother fruit you took the seed from. Many garden centers nowadays offer Heirloom varieties that you can plant and get a head start on, with the benefit of saving seeds from your biggest and best tasting fruits so you can continue to grow them again year after year. Growing heirloom tomatoes can become part of your family heritage.
If you purchase young heirloom plants, buy and plant them just after the danger of frost in your location. Here's a LINK to help you find out the best time for planting based on your zip code in the U.S..
Now, how to plant...
First, make sure you are planting in ground that is tilled nice and fluffy. Make sure you have amended it with some nice organics. I like a mix of peat moss (to hold moisture) and compost from my own compost pile. You can buy bagged compost, but stay away from fresh manures... they will burn the plants. You can use any number of organic or non-organic plant foods that have chemicals balanced for growing vegetables that grow fruits.
As for planting, here's a great tip. Tomatoes will grow roots all along their stems if you let them. With young seedlings, pull off the lower leaves and plant deeply. If I have 12" tall plants, I'll plant them with about 2/3 under ground. This gives them a better start--allowing more roots to grow which will supply more nutrients to your plants--and fruits.
I grow my tomatoes upwards onto "quad-pods"--sort of like a four legged tripod. You can make them out of wood or bamboo. As the plants grow, trip off side suckers that grow in the crotch of some leaf joints and tie off the plants to your supports. I plant one tomato plant per corner of my quad-pods, each about 3 feet apart. Don't overcrowd or your plants will sap nutrients from each other and all will be stunted. Indeterminate types keep producing fruit until the autumn frost, while determinate varieties are smaller and produce a set amount, then die. Indeterminates can grow to 8 feet tall, so use tall, strong supports. I don't like wire cages because it's difficult to harvest tomatoes toward the center.
With heirlooms, you can try yellow, purple, black, pink, red or even striped varieties. My best all around tasting tomato is called Eva Purple ball--a 3" pink, perfect, pest free tomato. My best beefsteak for taste is Giant Belgium. And I love growing Olivette Juane (a prolific yellow pear shape) and Jersey Devil (a horned, chili pepper shaped sauce tomato). Harvest in the mornings for best flavor. As your fruits come close to ripeness, hold back a bit on watering so you don't dilute the flavors. And watch out for your tomatoes' enemies: the tomato hornworm and chipmunks!
With heirlooms, label them carefully if you plan to save seeds. Save seeds from your biggest, most blemish free fruits... their genetics will ensure you get a good strain of seeds for next year.
First, place the seeds in a plastic cup with water and label the cup as to variety, weight of fruit and any other notes about how they performed in your garden (robust plants, bountiful harvest, pest resistant, blight resistant, etc). Place a wet paper towel cover over the top of the cup and set aside for 1 week. The seeds will ferment and all the slime will be removed from the seeds.
After a week or so, rise the seeds carefully, replacing with clean water as you go, until there are only clean seeds in the cup. Remove the seeds from the water and place into labeled coffee filters and set somewhere to dry. Package in paper coin envelopes with their names, date saved and notes.
You can start your seeds next season about 6-8 weeks before your last frost, indoors, under artificial lights in seed starting trays and pots. I tend to use two sizes during seed starting... a small seed "pack" size pot made out of peat or compressed paper products... and then I transplant deeper into 4" plastic pots.
At first, plant seeds very shallow into peat pots (set into large plastic seed starting trays) filled with seed starting mix (sterile) dampened with warm water. Lightly cover with a little soil, patted down firmly. Label each variety to keep track of different types.
Cover with a clear plastic cover for the first week or so until you see tiny sprouts, then remove the cover. After another week or so you should see two "true leaves" appear, that look just like adult tomato leaves. This is when you can start using tomato food to help them grow. Keep a timer on your grow lights to mimic sunup and nighttime light patterns. Water each tray regularly to keep the soil moist. Keep the lights close to (but not touching) the leaves all through the growth process. I keep my grow light on chains and can move the light upwards as the plants get taller.
When they are about 4" tall, I keep a small fan blowing across the cellar toward them. This builds sturdy stems by constantly moving them. You can plant your tomatoes in the garden when they are 8-12 inches tall. I set them outside in a protected area to "harden off" to temperature and wind before planting them in my garden beds. Keep them out of too much direct sunlight when hardening them off. Plant each plant into a deep hold, about 2/3 as deep as the plant's height. Mulch well, water on a regular basis (but not too much or some tomatoes will crack or lose flavor).
Harvest when they are slightly soft when squeezed, but still firm--preferably in the morning, when their flavor is the sweetest.
Heirloom Seed Resources
Annies Heirloom Seeds
Growing Heirloom Tomatoes in Pots
Old House Journal Article: How to Grow Heirloom Tomatoes
I hope this gives you a better insight into the long, special voyage the tomato has made... from the Andes mountains, across the sea to Spain, Italy and the rest of Europe, then back to the United States with the influx of Italian Immigrants. The tomato is alive and well all over the world, but especially in Italy. They've adopted this little nightshade fruit and made it their own...
And in my own family, growing tomatoes has been and always will be part of our Italian heritage. My father taught me how to grow tomatoes and I always looked forward to biting into the sweetness he grew, right off the vine in our humble backyard garden. I have been growing tomatoes in my own gardens ever since I moved out of my Manhattan loft home and studio, and if truth be told, I even grew tomatoes there--on my sun-filled fire escape. I've taught my son to grow tomatoes since he was about 4 years old. He helps start the seeds in our cellar under our grow lights, he plants them in our raised beds, he harvests them, and even knows how to remove the skins by boiling and plunging into ice water and making a great, fresh tomato sauce.
Tomatoes are a link to our Italian ancestors and our culture. I highly recommend growing your own heirloom tomatoes. They are called heirlooms for a reason... their seeds will be passed down from generation to generation and become part of your own family's heritage.
You may also be interested in...
My New Favorite Tomato: Striped Roma
San Marzano Tomatoes: Accept no Imitations!
Video: Hanging Bunches of Piennolo Tomatoes
Video: Canning Tomatoes, Italian Style
Worlds' Largest Tomato
Making a Great Pizza Sauce
My Beautiful Tomato Harvest
Ladybug Caprese Insalada
Tomato Tree Producing up to 3000 Pounds of Fruit!
Are Italian Gardeners Fading Away?
Music Video: Home Grow Tomatoes Song!
Copyright, Jerry Finzi, Grand Voyage Italy, All rights reserved