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AUTUMN NEWSLETTER - 2010
HARVEST TIME!
GRAPE HARVEST
CHESTNUT HARVEST
OLIVE HARVEST
TRUFFLE HARVEST
MUSHROOM HARVEST
Dear Newsletter Reader,
 
Welcome to the Autumn issue of our newletter.

Festivals celebrating the bringing in of the harvest and the wish to have a bumper crop have been celebrated around the world for centuries.  Italy is no exception to this and in this special Autumn issue of our newsletter, we are telling you about the harvests you can enjoy over the next few months in Tuscany and Umbria.  With so much to see and do, the Autumn and Winter months are certainly a time where a visit should be considered - think of the benefits - cheaper prices, less tourists, fewer queues and the chance to spend time with the locals!


Our 2010 photocompetition closes for entries in the middle of November, so there is still time to get your photos entered.  See the bottom of the newsletter for details and another great example of one of last years entries.

As always, please let us know your views on our newsletters or contact me for any other information or help.


Regards and we will be back in November.

Dympna
dympna@to-tuscany.com
 
The Grape Harvest
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grapesjpg 











 
Autumn is a fantastic time to visit Tuscany and Umbria to see the area erupt into one of the busiest times of years - the grape harvest.  It starts at the end of September and goes on throughout October and sometimes even into early November as the start date is weather dependent.
 
Throughout Italy and particularly in the Chianti area of Tuscany you will have the chance to see workers in the fields harvesting the grapes before taking them to the local winery for production into some of the worlds finest wines.  You will see an increased number of agricultural vehicles on the roads too.
 
Guests staying close to vineyards or on properties within vineyards will be able to witness the harvesting first hand and even get involved - they are always happy to accept extra helpers but be aware that it is hard work!
 
The Olive Harvest

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Green Olives












Throughout Tuscany you will find some of the best Olives in Italy. Often growing within the vineyards, the nutrients in the ground just seem to add that special something to the Olives and the Olive oil produced in the area. 

The majority of the Olives in Tuscany and Umbria are still harvested by hand with members of extended families and friends travelling to the family farms to help bring in the olives.  Nets are laid under the trees to protect any falling olives, baskets are tied around waists and each branch is methodically stripped of its prize. A sharp hit from a broom handle normally dislodges any stray olives too!


In Tuscany, the olives are picked whilst Green and it is this early crop that gives the local Tuscan oils their distinctive taste and texture. 

Once picked, it is important to get the harvest to the olive press as soon as possible in order to avoid any spoiling of the olives - because of their fat content, olives can spoil quickly and ferment.  Most presses in Tuscany operate as a 'Frantoio' which is a communual mill and every grower has an appointment to press their olives for their oil - something that is watched closely so that different growers olives are not mixed by mistake.

The best quality oil is that of the 'First Press' and this is highly prized amongst the growers and fetches the highest price if sold.

 

If you are staying at Montebuoni or Montefiorile hamlets during the olive harvest, you are welcome to join in and help and visit the local Frantoio.


 

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The Chestnut Harvest

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Chestnuts
 

 










Roasted, sugared, salted, baked, pureed, on pizzas, in polenta, in pasta, in sausages, and rolled in pork; these are just some of the ways that Tuscany will be offering visitors Chestnuts during the harvest month of October.  So, no matter what your preference is, there will be something for you to enjoy!

From the hills near Florence to the sides of Mount Amiata, the Chestnut harvest begins in October and in the most prolific growing areas, it continues on until January!

Such is the importance of the Chestnut in certain areas of Tuscany they have introduced the "Chestnut Trail" to rival the Chianti areas wine trails.  There are 6 trails of differing length and difficulty all of which take you through the Chestnut groves and allow you to experience the beautiful scenery of the area.


 

The Truffle harvest
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White Truffles
 


 






 


 

 

The last 3 weekends of November are given over to Festivals celebrating the harvesting of White Truffles in the San Miniato area of Tuscany. 

 

Easily reached from all areas of Tuscany, San Miniato is one of the most productive areas in Europe for the valuable White Truffles and the locally grown truffles are the most expensive of their kind. The Tubar Magnatum Pico is the most valuable because it will only grow in the most precise conditions and is therefore very limited in its harvesting.

The San Miniato National White Truffle Fair sees stalls selling the famous delicacy along with other local produce such as truffle oils, porcini mushrooms, walnuts, artichokes and even the Sigaro Toscana - Tuscan Cigar - that is also produced in the San Miniato area.

 

Why not take the Treno Natura from Siena to San Miniato to enjoy the Truffle Festival?

 

The Treno Natura is a lovingly restored steam train which runs on a special 'tourist' rail line at certain times of the year.

 

For information and bookings please go to the Treno Natura website (information is in Italian and English)

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Treno Natura

 

The Mushroom Harvest

 
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Mushroom HarvestIf you are in Italy during the Autumn you will often see groups of cars parked on the sides of the roads.  Sometimes these are the hunters vehicles and sometimes they are just a group of people that know that there are mushrooms ready for picking in the area!

The most famous of the Tuscan varieties is the Porcini mushrooms but other varieties that can be found include Chanterelle, milk-cap and russola.  As always with mushroom picking, you need to make sure you are with an expert as it is easy to mistake an edible mushroom with a non-edible one and this can have quite serious consequences - on average, 40,000 people in Italy suffer from mushroom poisoning each year!

If you would like to pick some mushrooms whilst in Italy, bear in mind that rules have been brought in to regulate the amount of mushrooms allowed to be harvested by individuals in order to protect the species for future years and ensure that those picking mushrooms know which types are edible.

Some of these rules include:

You must have a permit to collect mushrooms (these are also available for tourists)
You must only collect using wicker-baskets - absolutely no plastic bags to be used.
You can only collect 3kg per day (except if you live in the mountains where you are allowed 6kg)
You can collect from public areas only and from at least 100 metres away from residential buildings and at least 20 metres from the roadside
 
PHOTOCOMPETITION
 
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Dinan
Thomas Dinan USA
Dont forget about the To Tuscany 2010 photocompetition.  Entries (maximum of 5) must be sent in JPEG format and the prize is a hamper of Tuscan delicacies.  Send your entry to dympna@to-tuscany.com with your name, reservation code and a title for each of the photos. 

CLOSING DATE FOR ENTRIES IS NOVEMBER 8TH 2010
 

 

 

 
Quick Links
We hope that you find the information in this months newsletter useful.

Please let us know of any content that you would like to see included in our newsletters and we wish you a fantastic Autumn wherever you are spending it! Click here for contact details

Tanti Saluti
 
Dympna Docherty
To-Tuscany
dympna@to-tuscany.com