Giovanni Cucullo in his Garden


Every year, my father and I plant a beautiful herb and vegetable garden, and every summer, it is quite exciting to watch an empty back yard erupt into a plentiful harvest.

Anyone who visits is quickly transported to Italy. Whether they are wandering among a hundred tomato plants, sitting under a canopy of 30-year-old grape vines or just kicking back with a glass of red, they have that spiritual sense that they are being allowed to take part in a tradition that I consider timeless, priceless and very personal.

 

Tomatoes are always the dominant plant, and in many sizes and varieties; but we also grow, cucuzza (Italian squash), green beans, Anaheim chiles, Tabasco peppers, eggplant, rosemary and basil, and in August, the three fig trees and one peach tree must be picked each day before the squirrels find out how tasty they are.

    

Each new season brings for me a new level of appreciation for gardening and fresh produce, but more importantly, every flower that blossoms and every fruit which ripens by my hand reminds me of everything my parents have ever taught me and every tradition I plan to carry forth.

      

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