Today we headed east to towards Verona, the well known town of Romeo and Juliet. While on our way to the city center, we took two more agricultural tours.
First, we stopped at a 130 acre large wholesale market. Even though this market sells fruit, vegetables, meat and flowers our tour focused on the fruit and vegetable market where 85 operators work from 3:00 a.m. to noon to sell produce. The operators who bring the produce to the market are not the growers. Basically, these operators are the middlemen. Thirty-five percent is sold for export and 65% is sold within the country to supermarkets, restaurants and a few private customers. The small percentage of produce that does not sell is donated to local non-profit organizations.
|Our tour guide shared that the market has 25 employees and the 50% |
of the market is used for the fruit and vegetable sales.
|Fennel is currently in season as our group has eaten this vegetable at many of our meals since arriving in Italy.|
|Italians eat thousands of varieties of fruits and vegetables.|
|Here alone are three varieties of garlic.|
|The market director shared the company mission: "Goodwill generates well being." |
He said it applies not only the employees, but also the customers at the market.
Next we stopped at the Azienda Agricola farm, an 85 acre diversified operation raising peppers, apples, turkeys and soon strawberries. A bed and breakfast business is also run out of the home generating additional income.
|Peppers, the most labor intensive product the farm produces, must be analyzed |
and pruned every 15 days. These plants will grow to 12 feet tall.
|Peppers are grown in a mixture of soil and coconut shells in these white bags, which will |
last up to three years. An irrigation system provides consistent moisture.
|Anselmi shared while one person can tend to the apple orchard, it takes six or seven to tend to the apples. An irrigation system is also used to keep ideal soil condition for the apple trees.|
Both the peppers and apples have proven to be profitable ventures for the operation. The peppers are generating a 15% profit on $280,000 while the apples generate a 7.5% profit on $465,000. That is about a $77,000 profit, and doesn't even take into account the turkey operation.
|For over 20 years turkeys have been grown in this operation.|
Today the farm has 35,000 turkeys with the current ones at 20 days old.
We were pleasantly surprised when Anselmi invited us to see his home and attached bed and breakfast a short drive from the farm.
|This historical farm house dating back to the 1400's was used as the German headquarters at the end of WWII. The family has worked to restore it and use it for tourism as well as their living quarters.|
|Being against the law to destroy historical structures, the family has embraced the history of this beautiful villa.|
|In the living room a portion of the original rock wall is visible.|
|This stair case has also been restored.|
|The structure from above a bit closer.|
The beauty of Verona is quite sure to be just the start of many more memorable sites we witness while in Italy.
|Notice the marble street in the main shopping area in Verona.|
|The area that marks Romeo's home, which is today owned by a |
private individual and not accessible to the public.
|The famous balcony. "O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo."|
|This statue of Juliet resides in the courtyard and is a popular photo opportunity. You will notice her brightly polished bust. This is because of the customary placement of hands here to bring long and lasting love.|
|Superstitious or not many in our group, including Pat and Dawn Scheier, joined in the photo op fun.|
|The Anfiteatro Arena, a Roman Ampitheater, is still used today for many operas and theater productions.|
|Although smaller than the Coliseum in Rome, this is still a picturesque site.|
|Various original art can be viewed on buildings throughout the city center.|
|White and red stripes are a trademark of cathedrals in Verona.|
|The Adige River weaves is way around and through the city. In the background here is Castelvecchio.|
|The dome shaped building in left center is a church. Views such as this |
one were many and often while walking along the Adige River.