Pasta, historically referred to as “peasant food”, has become so popular in recent years that everybody makes it. However, pasta can be made in only Two ways. One – The Italian Way, and Two, – “How the rest of the world makes it Way”.
So, started our journey to find flour to make pasta, from Durum, here in South Africa. Mission impossible, locally made. Easy we said, let’s make our own. Mission impossible chapter 2 started. All seeds are committed to big companies and not even one single seed is allowed on your land after harvest. Numerous phone calls and emails later, we sourced Durum from a Government farm in the Free-State. 100kgs of uncleaned Durum wheat was brought down via a friend travelling back to Cape Town.
We planted the seeds and waited for them to start growing. We had one of the workers walk through the wheat planted, pulling out the “normal wheat” recognizing it from the shorter bristles as opposed to the longer bristles of the Durum, “purifying” the cultivation.
Like all projects on the farm, this particular project showed Attilio’s passion for farming, we finally made it and 2016 was our first Wheat harvest, but also the first time I ever saw my husband leap jump the garden fence.
Mission Impossible chapter 3 started at Durum harvest time.
We planted barley in the field opposite the Durum. After an hour of explaining and demonstrating to the contractor how he wanted the barley to be harvested separately from the Durum, Attilio came back up close to our house. Turning his back, he realized that the operator was happily taking the easy way of harvesting, going straight from one field to the other. A dead freezing scream of NOOOOOOOO came out of Attilio’s mouth, while jumping the fence of the vegetable garden to reach the closest corner of the field, so that the approximate operator can hear him and stop before it’s too late. But it was…the seeds were “dirty” again, and it was time for Plan B.
For 20 days our ladies, spent time atrociously separating the Durham seeds from the barley. Even though this was a tedious time consuming job, we did not have more seeds and just had to push through the challenges.
All of this to make our first flour, The Italian way.
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