NONNA TOMASINA

Con­cord, NSW

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - Ground Rules -

“I was born in Gizze­ria, in the prov­ince of Catan­zaro. I re­mem­ber learn­ing gar­den­ing by help­ing my mother in our orto, or small gar­den, when I was a lit­tle child. We had a small gar­den near our home and an­other piece of land about an hour from the town where we grew wheat, olives, figs, pota­toes, toma­toes

– what we grew was what we ate.

“When I came to Aus­tralia I kept gar­den­ing be­cause I liked it. I taught my hus­band, and when­ever I plant seeds or trim trees in my gar­den I watch the moon.

“The same things that are beau­ti­ful to cook are beau­ti­ful to grow. I grow egg­plants, toma­toes, beans and basil and then I cook them. The taste of home-grown is com­pletely dif­fer­ent.

“I grow lots of things: broc­coli, let­tuce, cu­cum­ber, spinach, broad beans and herbs – every­thing I put in the gar­den grows but never zuc­chini. Then I have my fruit trees: prickly pear, av­o­cado, fig, mango, mul­berry, man­darin, or­ange, plum, per­sim­mon, cof­fee, lemons and grapes.

“I love my man­goes, I have two trees and each year I take more than 50 man­goes. I have a very spe­cial av­o­cado tree, too. It makes av­o­ca­dos that weigh more than 600 grams, some­times even 900 grams. It’s been in my gar­den for more than 50 years. My cof­fee plants grow so much cof­fee. I dry the beans in the sun, then take off the skins and roast the beans my­self.”

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