Saturday, October 11, 2014

What's that rustling

Whenever you walk out into the grove at the moment there is an almighty scurrying as these lizards dive for cover in the roots of the olives and elsewhere.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Olive harvest 2014

The time of the olive harvest is fast approaching. The olives are starting to change colour from their lime green to a ducky red and will end up a deep plumy red colour when fully ripe.

The traditional time to start picking here in Umbria is 'dopo i Santi', or after All Saints Day on the 1st November. However, our olio nouvo festival in Trevi ( is on the 1st and 2nd November so we will need to start picking before All Saints Day so we can have some oil for the festival. So I think we will be starting around the 22nd October. #olivepicking #oliveharvest

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Health benefits of olive oil

Researches at Illinois University have found that olive oil may be beneficial in individuals with heart failure. This is on top of olive oil:-

helping reduce LDL cholesterol

being rich in antioxidents

can help decrease blood pressure

helps reduce obesity

You've gotta like the stuff haven't you. Get hold of some today at

Facts above are from Olive Oil News (

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The 2014 olive harvest

Things look ok don't they.

Olives are bi-annual croppers and last year was a very good year. So when an olive tree has a lot of fruit it does not put on much new growth. It is on this new growth that the following years olives will be borne. So when you have a good year like 2013 then the following year will not be as good.

This is where we are. Do not worry if you have adopted an olive tree from Casa Margherita, you will still receive your two litres of single estate extra virgin olive oil.

Friday, September 12, 2014

La tramonta stasera

We are very fortunate to live in Italy -  sometimes I don't believe those words (today in the post office for instance) but tonoght with this sunset I do.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Putting in order

I do like cutting the grass in the grove as it is one of those jobs where you are creating order where there was disorder which appeals to me. It is a bit like alphabetising your CD's or books -  both of which activities technology has made quasi redundant.

There is a great sense of satisfaction when all the grass is cut.

PS: I do not alphabetise my CD's or books. The grove thing is enough!

Friday, May 30, 2014

They are getting closer...

Took this photo today and you can see just one flower open. This was not in our grove but below us in the valley but very very soon the olives will be in full flower. All we need is a couple of days sunshine and ………….BANG!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Today at Casa Margherita

This was the view today from the Casa Margherita olive grove looking towards Trevi.

You can share a piece of this by adopting an olive tree from us. Ideal as a Mothers day gift. Find out more at

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mothering Sunday Gift

Looking for a great gift for Mothers Day. Why not adopt an olive tree? Choose from a Young & Virile, a Full Flush or an Elder Statesman. Find out more at

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pruning has begun

The hillsides of Umbria are pretty busy at the moment as pruning is in full swing.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Give us our daily bread

Bread is an every day purchase in Italy from one of the numerous bakeries that flourish or from a shop or supermarket where there is a wide choice available.

Umbrian bread is traditionally made without salt which results from the Umbrian's refusing to be impoverished by a Papal salt tax. The tax no longer applies but the bread is still made without salt.

The bread is in general firm and after a day can be used as a basic building material. Hence the need to buy bread daily. It is perfect for bruschetta however.

Being English we here at Casa Margherita preferred a softer sandwich type bread. The type that when you press down on your freshly made sandwich you leave your finger indents in the bread. Finally after nearly eight years we have found a loaf that could pass as made in England. Pazienza!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Le pecore

In days gone by olive grove owners allowed the local shepherds/esses to graze their flocks though the groves. There were two great benefits to the grove owners of this. The sheep kept the grass down and they fertilized the trees.

When we moved here, we, as wet behind the ears Londoners, were happy to have added to the contract for the house and land the fact that the local shepherd could not graze his sheep on our land. Doh!

He has recently asked us if he can return to grazing his sheep on our land as it makes his passage over the hill easier. We are very happy for him to return. However, Winnie and Ugo will not be so happy as they will need to put up with some very aggressive looking sheep dogs.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Doing the market...

As another month speeds by it was yet again time for the monthly farmer's market in Trevi. As normal, I was present with my wonderful olive oil but this month had decided to do a double header and also do the antique, collectable, any old rubbish market that takes place in the adjacent Piazza.

Having done a bit of life laundry I had a number of CD's that required a new owner(s).

So Rachel was charged with olive oil sales and I with convincing the probably skeptical Trevi public of the merit of 80's/90's music from an English/American perspective.

Total sales. €25.50 for Rachel and a measly €4.00 for me. I was glad to have avoided the charge of €4.50 to have a stall.

Sounds poor, and it is, but this a night out at our local pizza emporium with wine……………

Onward and upwards.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Perugia oggi

Trip to Perugia today. L'Artista to take in an exhibition and take seemingly random but wonderful images such as said above.

I, instead was on an olive oil selling mission which went very well indeed. So a good day for everyone at Casa Margherita.

On a separate note, don't forget to raise a glass to Bagpuss who turns 40 today.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What's going on?

Well, don't want to say too much at the moment but a big change is coming for Casa Margherita and for the artista. Watch this space.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


This is the scene below Casa Margherita where someone is wielding a chainsaw and bringing an old abandoned olive grove back into production. Always a pleasure to see but it will be a few years before they are back into full production.

When groves such as these are brought back into production it is often impossible to prune back to something so they cut the truck about 1.5 metres above the ground and will then develop 3 or 4 branches to produce a bowl shape from this cut point.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Valentines Day

Looking for that great Valentines Day gift idea then why not adopt an olive tree. The tree of life for the love of your life. Go to to find out more.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

End of the hunting season

January marks the end of the hunting season and so for the next seven months you are safe to wander the groves and hills of Umbria knowing that these hunting hides are empty.Mostly these are much better hidden than this one here.

One time Rachel almost had her head blown off by a neighbour as she walked up to her studio unaware that there was a hide hidden just off her route.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A winter's sunset

The winters sunset's here in Umbria are often fantastically vibrantly colored. A visual treat even when in the depth of winter - boiler not working, wood won't light etc.

The balm of nature.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

70 years on

The Allied advance up the length of Italy was a slow and bloody campaign against the German in 1944/45.

Today saw the some of the surviving combatants gather at the Anzio landing site near Rome for what for some maybe their last visit.

There is a Commonwealth grave nearby below the imposing hill upon which lies Assisi. There is a group of Italians who look after the cemetery and they have each adopted a number of the soldiers graves. These they visit and maintain. It is moving place as the soldiers were generally in their early 20's and the war had so few months to go.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Che schifo

Browsing the net earlier I came across what at first sight seemed like a great recipe for a chocolate mousse made with olive oil. Always a sucker for recipes using olive oil I delved deeper.

For some reason the creator of the recipe listed the ingredients as including "light olive oil". What the. What is light olive oil? As my olive oil resource online says "In the U.S., flavorless and often low quality (refined) oil is sold as "lite" or "light" oil for a premium price. The "light" designation refers to flavor, not caloric content, as all olive oil has the same amount of calories. There is no official definition of lite or light". Thanks to the Olive Oil Source website.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


A queue always attracts some interest, more so if your English maybe, and so when I was in Rome i was intrigued to see a queue outside a restaurant on the way to Campo Dei Fiori. This was around 6.30pm so not at traditional eating times.

Eventually someone came out and they had a piece of fried baccala in a brown paper wrap. Fantastic. Street food is achingly hip at the moment but this is old school. Luscious big flakes of rehydrated salted cod in a crisp batter.

Ah Roma. Ti amo.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sunset 9-1-14

This was the sunset earlier this evening. You can just about make out fog in the foreground which has covered the valley for the last couple of days whilst here at Casa Margherita we have been bathing in the winter sun.

I dropped down into the valley this morning and the temperature was a brisk 1°c and I bumped into a neighbuor who said he was going to come up this afternoon to get out of the fog and get some light.

After a few days of this the air quality also drops and you can see the fog is tinged a brown colour which in the main is wood smoke as burning wood is the primary form of heating and I would wager that this year less gas and electric are being used for heating and more wood burnt.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The fine art of selling

Or maybe that should be the fine feeling of selling.

Selling as most people know is a real skill which most of us do not possess but wish we did. As I am not blessed with this ability then I just need to plug away in my own inimitable way.

When this works and I make a sale then the feeling is fantastic. So I was extremely pleased when I visited a shop in Rome the other day and they placed a good sized order for my olive oil which here in Italy we have re-labeled as Paterno which is the name of the hill where our house and grove is found. Check out the website at