By Frank van Steenbergen
August 20, 2021
Postcard from Sicily
Mediterranean, volcanic, with millennia of cultivation, Sicily is a haven of very tasty farm produce. It produces most of its own food: what is imported are the few items that do not grow on the island. Add to this its own wine, fish, cheese, bread, and sweets. It is estimated that two third of the food consumed on the island is produced on the island. Some of its quality products – like its famous blood orange – never leave the island as they cannot be waxed for export.
Part of the fruits are sold by ambulant traders, driving around towns in three wheeler ‘Piaggio’ mini-vans. They park at busy intersections to sell their bounty of fruits and vegetables . The merchandise is sold from the back of the three wheeler and, if space allows, displayed around the three wheeler in a collar of crates. At the end of the morning, when it gets hot, the near-empty crates are stacked in the vehicle and taken back. This is an inspiring way of making business local with local and excellent use of intermediate means of transport – something missing in other countries.
The fruits are collected from local producers – their appearance is not always ‘A’ quality – spotty oranges and twisted zucchini’s, but their taste is all the better. A great example of a local value chain at work – connecting producers and consumers with useful products, though not necessarily neat and standardized.