One of the beautiful things of an area that has a rich agricultural tradition is that seasons suddenly gain their importance once more, it is not just a hotter/colder/more rainy period of the year but a time where specific tasks are repeated and can only be repeated at this time because nature is just that way.

Case in point for autunm are carobs and almonds, olives and grapes. Autumn is the time where families would reunite and move from one field to the other to pick the produce a task that requires many hands. Friends would team up with other friends and exchange labour so both fields are completed in time.

In our modern 21st century the same old structures are not there but thankfully the produce still gets collected. The majority of young Sicilians are not really that interested in getting their hands dirty in the fields. Instead, the countryside now depends on the crucial lifeline of seasonal workers, which in the case of Sicily often come from Tunisia and Morocco. Without the help of these workers the land owners would really find themselves in great difficulty since despite the more advanced machinery available for collecting produce human labour for certain types of produce and for a certain level of quality and care in not damaging the produce is crucial.

The following are some pictures we took during a trip in the area between Noto and the seaside. You can see both spontaneous growth (like the wild pomegranade tree and the prickly pears) as well as the olives, grapes, almonds and carubs - both collected and still waiting to be collected.

Carubs and almonds in the courtyard of an old Masseria

Some of the millions of prickly pears that grow so easily in Sicily

A varied landsacpe with vines, olives, carubs all mixed together

A wild pomegranade tree by the side of a little church in the countryside

Ripe grapes - ready to be picked up

Written on
September 9, 2005
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