Each year, between November and February, slowly and intently, hachiya persimmon altars begin to take root in my North Oakland apartment. They form on my kitchen window sill; on my bedroom dresser; on my dining room table; on my office desk. I fall into the familiar habit of always having one or two persimmons in my bag in case, in the course of the day’s travels, I meet a neighbor to whom I’d like to bestow a persimmon. Read more

A photograph that hung on a wall near my desk in the Slow Food Nation office has been an inspiration, an adventure, a disappointment and perhaps now a call to action for me. It was a print of a work called Sei un Coniglio (Italian for “You are a rabbit”) by the artist and goats’ milk ice cream-maker Douglas Gayeton, an American who lived in Tuscany for many years. Sei un Coniglio shows a young farmer standing casually next to a rabbit he has just skinned and hung up by its feet. In the photograph, Gayeton has written over his overalls, “Riccardo is 19 years old and a rarity in Tuscany. Instead of wanting to leave the farm, Riccardo has already decided to remain a ‘contadino’ (peasant).” Read more