Sustainable Village Life

A two hour drive from Wote in the Makueni district of Kenya lies the village of Ngomano.  The last 9 miles of the trip to the village center takes a four-wheel drive vehicle and nerves of steel.  Not only are you sharing the single lane road with goats, sheep, cattle and people heading to get water, but what is used as a road is often deeply rutted and washed out.  Hold on to your stomach for this bumpy ride.

Just before you arrive at the village center of Ngomano a small side road to the left takes you a hundred yards to The Clay International School.  This school was developed by PEI Kenya as an innovative way to teach, and in order to create a sustainable community. Continue reading “Sustainable Village Life”

Italian Food Part 2: Tuscany

The market at Monterci in Tuscany introduced me to a new gastronomic passion, porchetta.  Porchetta is a whole sucking pig, de-boned and stuffed with garlic, rosemary, fennel and liver.  This juicy and delicious meat is a regional favorite which makes for a delicious and inexpensive lunch at the market when topped with a crunchy piece of skin and stuffed in a crispy roll, its exact flavors varying based on the chef.

It was here in Tuscany that I was made aware that not only were the restaurant menu items, and market items locally grown, but that they are also seasonally available.  What this means is that should I go back to Tuscany in July the foods available would be what is ripe at that time.  Fortunately for me ‘in season’ during December is cingale (wild boar), black truffles, chestnuts, porchini mushrooms and persimmon.

In the Caprese Michelangelo area, locals who harvest the mushrooms, truffles, and chestnuts from the forest are able to bring the fruits of their labor to market with the assistance of a local Co-op.  Sounds like an easy and exotic way to get those truffles that you love?  It isn’t.  Each of the trees in the forest is ‘owned’ by someone and you would very literally be taking their livelihood.

Overall I have really enjoyed the regional flavors and the lessons that are evident when a locale seems to have  a more sustainable food system.

Learn more about the foods of Tuscany from our hostess.