These are difficult times. Agriculture in Tuscany is being drowned to death this year - at least so it seems. In the occasion of the visit of Jeff and Donna Chandler (parents of Emily who owns the spectacular Piazza Italian Market in Easton, MD), we visited a lot of our Scrumptious Pantry producers yesterday. Everyone was complaining about the continious rain.
Barbara was telling us that she is expecting to harvest about 30% less of her second most important crop - The San Miniato artichoke. Too wet, no sun, to harvest! Luckily enough she has not lost her smile, as you can see in this picture with Donna and Jeff.
Roberta and Giulio have similar problems - some of their plants have been replanted three times already, because the first plantings just died off with all the water. And this third planting does not look very good either. The peperoncino, for example (hot chilli peppers) did basically just spring up now. Whatever will be harvested here this year, it will be with a delay of two months compared to a "normal" year (In the picture you see Roberta as she presents a bouquet of chilli peppers and grains to Donna, it is supposed to be good luck).
So we can start discussing what "normal" might be. Since 2001 every year here has been somehow exceptional in terms of climate conditions. Too much rain in 2002, not enough rain in 2003... and so it goes. I am not a scientist, so I do not want to try to contribute to the "who's fault is it" debate, but something is surely going on!