Our Vegetable Garden
In our vegetable garden, we grow fresh seasonal vegetables, herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and wild greens, all of which we use in the kitchen to add character to our typical Ligurian dishes. Rising just above Portovenere, overlooking the sea and Palmaria Island, the Timone vegetable garden flourishes in a hillside setting, nestled within a 420-plant olive grove, and comprises approximately 8 thousand square meters.
We grow the seasonal vegetables in the shade of our olive trees, in a traditional terraced garden with dry stone walls, the typical ones made without cement: they are simply stones that hold themselves up thanks to the skill and expertise of those who built them. To get to our garden, we walk to Portovenere’s square, Piazza Bastreri, and climb a steep, beautiful staircase that leads to the left of Doria Castle. That’s where the Timone vegetable garden is, right beside the Castle.
The philosophy that lies behind, and within, the Timone vegetable garden is inextricably linked to the course of nature. But what is “natural”? All that is not artificial. Irrigation, for instance, is supplied by rainfall: we collect the rainwater from the roofs of the chicken coop, toolshed, and house, and channel it into the well, and we have water collection containers everywhere in the garden so that irrigation is carried out thanks to rainwater only. It’s a sound, conscious and sustainable choice that limits water waste. We don’t use any artificial products or compounds to boost growth and production. We sow and grow our vegetables and herbs naturally, according to the flow of the seasons. So we have sunny years that bring better crops, and rainy ones that make everything slower. What we believe, and strive to do at the Timone vegetable garden, is that nature should be favored and fostered, rather than forced. Because if you reach out to nature, nature will eventually reach out to you.
Our extra-virgin olive oil
We started producing extra-virgin olive oil from our trees in the Timone vegetable garden a couple of years ago. Our garden measures approximately 8.000 square meters and enjoys spectacular exposure: kissed by the sun from dawn to dusk! We harvest our olives fairly early in the year, generally in mid-September, before they start turning black. Picking the olives when they’re still almost green ensures we get a longer-lasting, wonderfully scented oil with perfect acidity. The Timone vegetable garden oil is cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil. Our 420 olive trees comprise different cultivars, specifically Razzola, Leccino, Taggisca and Preveza. This last one, typical of Portovenere, produces cherry-shaped olives that give our EVO a distinctive and elegant note.
Our seeds' memories
When we first started farming the garden, we noticed that the seeds we had sown needed much more water than we could possibly supply. So, we decided to experiment, thinking “let’s keep track of how much these plants grow, and how much produce they yield. Maybe next year they’ll remember our water shortage and behave differently”. Three-four years have passed since, and the more time goes by, the more our seeds understand that we don’t have extra water to waste. Needless to say, quantities aren’t lavish, but our production is 100% natural, linked to the seasons and rainfall. We don’t use artificial aids. What does the word “natural” mean to us? All that nature gives us, without external or outsourced inputs. We’re happy and proud of the way we work, and we should all remember that we are what we eat. When we cook our homegrown zucchini, or zucchini flowers, at the restaurant, our eyes shine with pride. And our clients always notice.