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Arsenio Sunday: Buds and Bulbs

Tuscany is every shade of green right now, and the purple of iris and wisteria is giving way to yellow ginestra and red poppies. It’s a treat wherever you look and we feel very lucky to be up here above Florence, surrounded by nature in all its beauty.

Just this last week temperatures have been as high as 28°C (82F) and our olive groves are responding to the definitive change in season. The sap in the trees is rising and sage-green new leaves are peering out. We are close to flowering and on some of the cultivars we can already make out the flower buds. This is a delicate phase and we are hoping for no warm winds from the sea. Sirocco or Libeccio winds would be very damaging, as would drought.

All vegetation is growing rampantly thanks to the spring rains and the rise in temperatures. Most days we can hear the hum of strimmers as all our neighbours, just like us, battle with the fast-growing grass. This year the proverb “a maggio fa la foglia” seems to be certainly true. We are busy removing last year’s saffron bulbs - around 1.800 - from their old field, ready for re-planting in October. This needs to happen every two years in order to replenish the soil. We use the same bulbs, they just change home.

As always, May is a wonderful time for vegetables as the first peas, zucchini, artichokes, asparagus and radishes are appearing in our gardens and at our farmer’s markets. What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring and these warm days than with a salad that showcases our Extra Virgin Olive Oil? Look out for our recipe later in the week.

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