U-pick (and U-taste!) nectarines in Astino valley

Pick- your own nectarines

First we had berries, now we have this – another pick-your-own farm where the owner even encourages folks to go ahead and sample the fruit! Finding Azienda Agricola Sant’Anna came about as a google result, and if we had known about it earlier (it’s practically a stone’s throw from ours), we would’ve been the first in line when they were in the middle of cherry season.

Maddie among the nectarines

The neat rows of yellow and white nectarine varieties are adjacent to Monastero di Astino, an ex-monastery that was built between the eleventh and twelfth centuries. At one point the neglected building was projected to become a golf center (glad that plan was scrapped), but has been recently restored and now hosts special events.

Astino Abbey

Salatu niebe

90°F, 93°, 95°! Keep the iced tea flowing! It is just so hard to put thoughts into words, into sentences, and into a post when I would rather be somewhere in Norway or anywhere that isn’t so bleeding hot! This torrid heat we’ve been suffering since the beginning of July isn’t going away any time soon, but if there is one good thing to come out of the weather, it has to be the explosive growth of cukes, toms and zukes in the garden. Salatu niebe (I’ve also seen it spelled saladu ñebbe) is a cold legume and vegetable salad that I saw on a cooking show. The dish hails from Senegal and is a refreshing side to grilled meats, or great all on its own.

Salatu niebe

I simply eye-balled amounts but there are recipes online. The ingredients are:
cooked black-eyed peas
diced cucumber
diced red bell pepper
diced tomatoes (or use halved cherry tomatoes)
chopped scallions (I substituted with sweet red onions)
finely chopped habanero (I used cayenne pepper)
finely chopped parsley
freshly squeezed lime juice
olive oil
salt and pepper

Combine black-eyed peas and the next 4 vegetables (I try to get an even balance between all of the components) in a bowl. Add the chile (according to your heat preference), and parsley. Season to taste with lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Chill before serving.