One of the first truly "Italian" things we did when we first moved to Italy was to buy fresh fruit from a truck. We were headed out to look out a house to rent (the one we would actually end up taking) when we happened upon a truck pulled off to the side of the road. The truck had soft canvas sides which were rolled up and secured with a belt on either side of the roll at the top of the truck. Inside of the truck were literally thousands of oranges, lemons, and clementines. The fruit was nestled inside crude little wooden crates which held anywhere from 20-30 pieces of fruit. The fruit was so fresh that many had bright green leaves still attached. Stefania explained that the trucks were owned by men who would drive down to southern Italy where they would pick the oranges. She explain that the cost of running such a large fruit plantation became to high when the economy in Italy went bad and many of the owners just up and left the plantations before they went bankrupt. The truck owners drive to southern Italy where the weather is warmer and pick the fruit, or pay someone to pick it, and then they drive up north to sell the fruit at a hefty profit. 10 kilos of oranges (about 22 pounds) sell for under 10 Euro. In the spring, we see trucks with strawberries and cherries too--although we have a cherry tree in our backyard that produces a hefty bounty of cherries. It's one of the habits that I love most about Italy, and one that I will miss when we move back home.
|Steve bargaining with the fruit vendor. This should have been interesting since Steve knows about 20 words in Italiano. This guy was nice. We got a big box of Clementines for under 10 Euro. He even threw in a few lemons.|
|Clementines fresh from the tree.|