wise words


Montefioralle - Tuscan faucet

“Water is precious.  Don’t waste it!  Always close the tap completely. Thank you”

Succinct yet polite (and elegantly presented in true Italian style), my sister and I saw this after a relaxing lunch in the Tuscan village of Montefioralle in late October of 2010. It’s an important reminder in any language, don’t you agree?


Windfall ApplesWhile out walking this morning I was thinking about a million different things – how it’s starting to feel like autumn, Cecilia’s Homegrown September Challenge, as well as this NYTimes article – when I came across a sight that breaks my heart: windfall apples rotting on the ground and in the street.

Windfall Apple Tree 1

It wasn’t the first time I’ve run across this in my neighborhood; I’ve seen lemons, grapefruit, oranges and apples rotting on the ground, only to be cleaned up and tossed in the yard waste bin by the homeowner’s gardener or mow-n-blow crew. And it makes me sick.

Windfall Apple Tree 2

This sort of wastefulness is so common, I’ve taken to carrying a small canvas bag with me wherever I go. Without missing a beat (and without trespassing), I picked up as many of the least damaged apples as I could carry: about 15 today, as well as about a dozen yesterday. No doubt, some people around here think I’m a bit odd, but I can live with that. I wonder, have these people never seen hunger? Although I’ve never experienced true hunger, I’ve witnessed it first hand. Perhaps that’s why this bothers me so much. 

Windfall Apple CoresBecause my parents lived through the Great Depression, wasting food was never ever tolerated. As a nine year old, one of my summer responsibilities (besides tending our vegetable garden) was to deliver paper lunch bags filled with ripe plums – gathered from our tree – to each of our neighbors. Not a single plum ever went to waste, and goodness was that tree was productive! Sadly, many people don’t seem to understand the concept of sharing their bounty rather than letting it go to waste. I just don’t understand this. Whatever happened to simple acts of kindness like sharing?

Windfall Apples 2Some people turn their nose up at less than perfect fruit. I think that’s silly. Surprisingly, only a few of these apples were bruised. I’ve seen worse bruises on store-bought fruit. And yes, I did come across two worms, but really, how difficult is it to cut that part out? Best of all, these apples were delicious! In the end, I cut up about two dozen apples and had enough to make a pie or crumble.

Windfall Apple Oatmeal CrumbleWindfall Apple and Oatmeal Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, toss together 6 cups cored, peeled and roughly chopped or sliced apples with a generous squeeze of lemon juice, a tablespoon or two of brown sugar and a heaping half teaspoon of cinnamon. Place combined ingredients in a shallow glass baking dish.

Mix together a half cup of quick rolled oats, a quarter cup of toasted & chopped walnuts, a quarter cup of brown sugar, a heaping half teaspoon of cinnamon and three tablespoons melted butter. Combine to form crumbs.

Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbling. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

p.s. I eat the apple peels while I work. In this house, nothing goes to waste.