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Douglas Gayeton
My shoes are caked with mud: a Tuscan photo diary
Part 5: Me Viene Latte Alle Ginocchia
Tuesday, Jun 1, 2004 (05:59 PM)

A stone farmhouse in Secadura, Spain has been in my family for nearly 300 years. One of my earliest childhood memories is set in the barn behind the house. I'm standing beside my great uncle. After milking a cow he hands me the bucket to take a drink. It's warm, heavy, intoxicating (for a young boy). I've never forgotten that taste.

This isn't a memory any six year-old in Los Angeles is likely to have, first because family run farms don't really exist in LA, and second because the sale of raw milk is actually illegal.

I now live in Tuscany. In the mountains above my town a raw (non-pasteurized) milk is the basis for a type of cheese that has been under increased scrutiny as Europe attempts to establish continent-wide health laws.

This is the story of Tuscan pecorino cheese made with latte crudo or raw milk, and the farmers who've banded together to protect it...

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EPILOGUE: Il Podere la Fornace, the farm where these images were taken, is an agenda agricula which sells its products to the public. As their cheese is in high demand, it's a good idea to call ahead to place an order (011 39 057369034).

Click for larger version.
Stefano milks his 80 sheep
twice a day.

Click for larger version.
The stomachs of lambs
filled with milk are hung
to dry outside the barn.

Click for larger version.
The cheese (la forma) is placed
on wood racks to age.


•  One of the hallmarks of the Slow Food movement is their ongoing efforts to recognize and protect indigenous foodstuffs around the world.

•  A succint explanation of the D.O.P. process (denominazione di origine protetta)... in Italian.

Note to readers: this is Douglas Gayeton's final entry for POV's Borders. We hope you'll check out his previous entries, below, and browse through the other guest pages on Border Talk. Thanks for stopping by.

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Part 4: Vino Biodinamico
Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 (11:10 AM)

It seems like everyone in the town where I live (Pistoia, about thirty minutes outside Florence) makes olive oil or wine or vinegar. Making and preserving foodstuffs is a cultural thing. People in Pistoia never have more than two degrees of separation from il contadino (the farmer) in their past...

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Part 3: Una Scampagnata
Monday, Apr 12, 2004 (12:30 PM)

If I happen to be in America at Thanksgiving, I always find my way to the Sierra foothill town of Folsom, California, where my sister-in-law puts her yearly Italian spin on the traditional turkey fete. It was at her table that I ate cardone for the first time...

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Part 2: La Giuseppina
Thursday, Apr 8, 2004 (03:55 PM)

I work two nights a week in a small restaurant set in Arcigliano, a hillside village a few miles outside the town where I live in Italy. One day "La Giuseppina" paid a visit. She had two pockets filled with fresh eggs just taken from her coop behind the restaurant. The chef cut her a large slice of pecorino cheese, wrapped it in paper, then offered her a few tomatoes. A wordless transaction...

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Part 1: Un Vero Macello
Monday, Apr 5, 2004 (02:31 PM)

One evening, over dinner with friends in Pistoia, a Tuscan town set between Lucca and Florence, I realized I was the only person at the table who didn't know what I was eating, how it was made, or where it came from. When I pointed this out, my friends were amused. I proceeded to say that I was no different from most Americans...

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Past Entries
04/05 Part 1: Un Vero Macello
04/08 Part 2: La Giuseppina
04/12 Part 3: Una Scampagnata
04/20 Part 4: Vino Biodinamico
06/01 Part 5: Me Viene Latte Alle Ginocchia