As mentioned in Part 1 of this blog, the majority of our students were away on an optional trip to Barcelona last weekend. For the students who remained, we planned excursions for the Friday and Monday. On Friday we toured the caves of Grotte di Stiffe, then climbed to a mountaintop to visit the 10th century fortress of Rocca Calascio.
On Monday, we visited Agriturismo Caniloro, just outside of Lanciano. Agriturismi can be found all throughout Italy. They are small working farms, usually family-run, that have been restored to offer services similar to a B&B. To be recognized as an agriturismo, the majority of the farm’s income must come from agriculture and the food served must either be from the farm, or grown locally. Caniloro also runs as an Educational Farm, allowing school groups to visit and learn about local agriculture.
We’re in the middle of the olive harvest and it wasn’t long before we were put to work. However, the owners made sure we were fed a traditional “farmer’s breakfast” of olive oil on bread, to give us the energy needed to pick olives.
After we had picked our trees clean, we had time to explore the farm. A major highlight of the trip was to be befriended by Chuck and Rex, two of the friendliest dogs in Abruzzo.
Next was the olive press, or Frantoio, which was just down the road. In proper country style, half of us hopped into the back of the pickup, the other half shared the wagon behind the tractor. Chuck was in hot pursuit.
We were given a tour of the oil factory, learning about the process of pressing oil, then headed back to the farm to see some of the animals that they keep.
Before lunch, we had time for an artistic photo op in the style of Leonardo Da Vinci. It was then time for a taste-test. We dipped bread into our bright green oil, then served fresh pasta, veggies, roasted lamb, and finished with dessert. There was time afterward to relax in the sun, let our food digest, and hang out with Chuck and Rex a little longer.