“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.”