Saturday, 11 June 2011

Fri 10 June - A Market Raid & An Evolving Brand

Fara Filiorum Petri

Fara Filiorum Petri.  (Location.)  What a fabulous market.  And such a  small but vibrant little village.  So typical of so much that has stunned us around every little corner of Abruzzo that we turn.  Why is it that so few people know about Abruzzo?  How has this region of Italy been missed by the big travel writers?  

There is so much history here, so many practices and traditions that have been unchanged for hundreds of years.  Unspoilt, unmanicured, untainted, untamed.  There are some wonderful blogs coming out of the region (Italy tutto - Abruzzo blogs) and a handful of guide books, but that's about it.  Very occasionally Abruzzo will feature in one of the Sunday broadsheets, but only rarely and often missing the heart of the beautifully raw simplicity of what is here.  

Even the biggies like The Rough Guide and Lonely Planet completely miss the point.  Their chapters are so brief that you wonder if the travel writers have actually been here.  Maybe I'm doing them an injustice?  Or maybe to be able to find and feel the beating heart of Abruzzo you need to fully immerse yourself into the daily rhythms of Abruzzese life?  We have only been here for two and a half months and we know so little, but we also know that we are only scratching the surface, there is so much more yet to be discovered and revealed.

Just a tiny section of the market
Fara Filiorum market was one such gem.  Spotted as we cycled past one day a couple of weeks ago, it was a definite must to return to.  It was all the ladies with their bulging shopping baskets walking slowly away from the market, and the tiny trucks overflowing with chickens that did it.  

But nothing could have prepared us for the abundance of stalls that we stumbled across. It wound itself all the way up through the village, round and round the stone walled streets and up and up to the tiny little piazza with the church at the top.

Again we asked ourselves:  Why?  Why does this not feature in the guide books?  Why has nobody told us about it?  But here it is, and here we are and, boy, did we make the most of it!  

Not a bad way to do your weekly shop
We filled our bags with new potatoes freshly dug out of the ground, big fat carrots, strings of onions, a huge bunch of beautifully fresh celery and the reddest of red tomatoes with such a pungent sweet aroma, but only after the stall holder had insisted we try one first. 

We raided the grow your own stall of tomato, cucumber, cabbage, cauliflower and chilli plants to put in our newly dug veggie plots.  

We also came away with a  pot of lavender and another of basil to continue filling my herb garden.  Oh, and I got a lasagne tin (€6!) to replace the billy can that KP is constantly moaning and groaning about every single time he washes up (maybe I should be glad for small mercies?).  Actually, I've grown rather attached to the billy can, so it stays put, the new one will simply enhance my rather ramshackle pot and pan collection.

Of course we treated ourselves to a coffee in the piazza before making our way home.  Not a bad way to do your weekly shop.

And what a treat to get home and see the difference that is rapidly being made to our emerging shower block and barn.  The raw walls of the showers, toilets and changing areas are now complete, but most exciting of all, and what is making the big transformation, is the cladding of the roof.  With the beams left revealed it's going to look stunning.  Such a great space.  

In fact this week has been all about reliving and refreshing the Kokopelli vision.  I think we have got so immersed in our daily lives, the development of the house and garden and learning so much about so many things that  we've just left Max to get on with the barns.  

But this week we have had many visitors and more new friends dropping by.  To show people around and talk through our vision is a treat indeed.  To see their excitement and enthusiasm matching ours,  and to feed on the thoughts and ideas coming out of  fresh eyes, helps to keep us on track and keep our excitement at what we are creating bubbling away under the surface.  

The Kokopelli brand, made real in the gifts that we have been making this week of our wild cherry jam, is coming alive.  We are now being flooded with so many ideas of how the brand can develop and grow that our big challenge will be keeping it small and keeping it simple.  

Pick just a few, but do them well.  Simple, maybe, but with full attention to detail and never forgetting the thousand little smiles.


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