Summer is almost over and yet some people have been busier than ever; my 90 year old friend Lluis is one of them. First he was busy sorting and platting the onions and garlic and now he is working on this years hazelnut harvest, by hand of course.
All of these products come from either his veggie garden or the woods he has near the village of La Pera which is where he has lived all his life. The tomatoes were late but tasty although not particularly abundant and the onions were bigger because of the wet winter/spring we had.
Next will be the beans which are dried and stored for the winter in his cellar along with the potatoes and soon it will be grape harvest and the new wine will go into the casks to keep them jolly through the winter months.
When you ask about the weather he tells you how much colder and wetter it used to be 30 or 40 years back when they had a river at the bottom of the village where they could swim and fish which is now just a dry ditch. There was occasional snow and it froze every night from December to February contrasted to now when even bougainvillea survive in sheltered spots and they die when it gets close to zero.
Like in many agricultural areas the end of summer is celebrated with a harvest festival to give thanks for the bountiful (or not depending on the year) crops and to prepare for the shorter, colder days ahead.
Living in complete harmony with the seasons is amazing, there is always something important to do whose benefit you will not see for several months but on which your life could depend before the arrival of modern logistics to supply shops in even the remotest villages, or transport to reach them.
Sion, Lluis’ wife still gets a thrill when she hears the horn announcing the fishmonger who comes through their village twice a week, she still thinks it a real luxury to eat fresh as opposed to salted fish.
Talking with them makes you realise how much us city dwelling folk take for granted every time we go food shopping!
The first picture is of an old traditional food served in Camprodon called “garru”, boiled ham on the ubiquitous toasted bread with olive oil and tomato rubbed in with optional garlic. A great way to start the day!