That’s right. I leave next Tuesday (that’s 3 days…ah!) for Italia.
I realized the other day that I have little background knowledge of the farm and the region I am going to, nor have I shared much with all of you. So, here’s a little of what I have found out so far. I plan on trying to learn a lot more from the people of the farm. A personal account is much better than what I could find on the internet, but I wanted to go in with little information.
Calabria is the southern-most region in Italy and one of the more rural and poor areas. It didn’t become a part of the country of Italy until 1860 and before that it was conquered and passed around by many different groups, including the Greeks, Romans and Byzantines. What this has meant for the region is that it had a late start growing its economy. However, it has started to pick up mainly due to their agriculture (it’s a leading producer in olive oil), though tourism is picking up as well.
I will be near the town of Morano Calabro. I haven’t been able to find much about the history of the town, but it’s gorgeous and on a mountain. The population is only 4,800 people, so I may be somewhat of an oddity. I’ve also read that many people still speak the native dialect or Moranese and little Italian, so it will certainly be interesting!
Though I can’t tell the name of the farm because of Institutional Review Board rules, I can tell you a little about it from what I’ve found out from their website. The family that owns the farm has been farming there for generations and the region has been home to herders for many years as well. The farm has 600 animals (500 sheep, 100 goats) that are native species. They are based in the Pollino National Forest where the animals forage for their food of native shrubs and grasses. Because the grandparents still live on the farm, many of the traditions have been carried through to now. They have a couple specialty cheeses that are featured on the website. Pecorino di Morano, La Feliciata, and Il Gruttazzo. Each is handmade at the factory and with the traditional instruments, as well as some modern equipment.
As you can probably tell, there’s still a lot of things I don’t know about where I’m going. It will certainly be an adventure. Of course, once I settle in and learn a little more, I’ll be keeping you all posted. From what I’ve read on the website the ideology itself behind the making of cheese is very similar to the farm in the United States, but the environment in which they are working is very different. We’ll see!
P.S. All these pictures I have are just from Google Images. Soon I’ll have my own to put up.