Pages from a diary recount: the pistachio harvest

Would you like to know a bit of the background to the collection of the pistachio?

2021 is year on, harvest year, and the loaded plants are ready to be stripped of their fruit!


The people of Brontë have been waiting for this moment for no less than 730 days!


But what does it mean for a farmer to harvest the pistachio? And how does a typical day unfold? Today we are here to introduce you to the Brontë ski resort with a diary page written in the handwriting of a binder.


A mini-trip among the pistachiothrough the eyes and senses of a labourer:



And finally September has arrived, although to be honest we have been moving 'o Locu' (to the countryside) since the end of August.

Hours 5:00, waking up is a little tough, but the excitement of starting the harvest is great and then as they say: 'a matinata fa 'a junnata'. , the morning makes the day (whoever wakes up early in the morning has the chance to make the most of the day).

I prepare the coffee pot and in the meantime wash my face and get dressed, I have left everything ready at the foot of the bed so as not to waste too much time. I can already smell the coffee filling the room and I hurry to go check that it doesn't spill out. The coffee pot is the old one and we rarely use it, it's not the best, but that strange taste reminds me of when we were together with my grandparents in the country.

The 6:00 and I decide to go outside and sip another cup. It is still cold, and it is all dark, the summer is beginning to fade and the landscape around it looks like a nativity scene. The small 'casotte' in the countryside in the distance are slowly beginning to light up and a few older people are already outside starting to organise sacks, sacks, tents and bunks. The smell of the husk of the pistachios is strong, and the thought immediately goes to which 'anto' to take, although I already know, because my grandfather always started from the same spot. The 'zotta' (the ditch) there, where it is always a little warmer and the pistachios ripen earlier.

Meanwhile, the first lights of the car headlights begin to show, a sign that the whole 'crew' of workers is arriving, they are a well-assorted group, they are not only from Bronte but also from neighbouring towns.

After two years of waiting we are all ready, we move into the 'zotta', bags around our necks, but no one starts picking. A few new guys look around a bit bewildered, smiling, because they know something is going to happen, but they have never seen anything like it until with a glance, almost as if it were a joke, they all make the sign of the cross and shout loudly A nnommi ri Ddiu! (in the name of God)

 It has begun! Within minutes, workers are seen popping up on all sides, but not only, there are cousins, brothers, grandparents, a kind of big reunion...

The noise of the pistachios falling into the sacks begins to get louder and louder, and after a few minutes they start calling u 'saccaru' (boy carrying the sacks full of pistachio) to empty the bags weighing down their necks. The morning proceeds quickly amidst chatter and anecdotes from the workers who weigh over 30 collections on their shoulders.

The heat begins to make itself felt and the hands are already dirty and sticky with resin, someone begins to grumble that they are already hungry and so the first ripe prickly pears scattered here and there become breakfast... "Do you want sanghigna? (sanguine) Bianca panittera?" A sugar concentrate that for a few seconds makes you forget all about fatigue.

They are the 11:00and between singing and drinking water the crew chief checks the work: ..... " ccampammuri i frastuchi....non 'ndanu spini...a cocciu a cocciu si rinchiuni i panara! (let's collect the pistachios that have fallen to the ground... they have no thorns... one by one you fill the buckets)

Finally it was lunchtime and we all went to sit down under the coveted coolness of the olive tree... and within a few minutes all kinds of delicacies began to spill out of every backpack...

You do the 16:00and as if sounding the retreat of the cavalry, everyone rushed to collect the harvested produce and put it in sacks, loaded onto their shoulders and off to the houses, where someone else began to 'sgrullari i frastuchi' (crush the pistachios) and lay them out in the sun.

One last goodbye, two pistachios in our pockets to savour on the way back, and we make an appointment for the next morning, hoping to arrive a little more punctual!

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