Simply put, la zucca is pumpkin, in Italian. It is the word that I have used the most in the past weeks. I have chopped them, searched for them, harvested, them and dined on them in nearly every corner of Italy, but there is still more. There are still fairs to attend, restaurants to dine in, and seeds to explore. I have been a bit lost in a flurry of action, as festivals run back-to-back. The connection to the people of Italy is so immediate. I show a photo, I note that I am a producer of pumpkins, and it seems that hearts open up. they forgive my “bad Italian” because I speak the ultimate Italian: farming. The production of food is more important than language.
Every village seems to have them in the shops, every Airbnb in which I stay has one on the kitchen counter. This wonderfully simple vegetable is loved here in Italy.
I have crossed from Slow Food Terra Madre in Turin, to Florence, to Mondovi, to Alba, to Lecce, Orsara di Puglia, Naples, then launched north to Germany. I tour festivals and fields, corner markets, and kitchen counter tops. Seeds fill my pockets, squash fills my stomach, and I sleep well at night. In the weeks ahead, I will be sharing my journey with you, one zucca at a time.