The tomato crop is important to Puglia even though rice production is beginning to take over some of the fields where the toms used to grow.

The reason is the downward spiral of prices despite the best efforts of the Puglian farmer to push prices up with dire warnings of huge shortages.

They are at it again this week with projections following the non summer summer that the crop will be a disaster. They said the same last year at about this time as well.


In fact last year was the biggest crop ever but of course prices fell and farmers are now receiving 40% less than they did 10 years ago. Mind you a few years ago they didn’t have the number of Africans here whom they pay a daily wage of some €5 a day to collect them. There is now a sticky label that farmers that don’t use this almost slave labour can put on their toms but this is Puglia and labels are easily copied.

I did a little picking last year down near Pulsano ready to make passata and it is really hard work. After this experience I decided to buy them in the market !

Tomatos picking

The big harvest starts normally in September hence the warnings from the farmers now.

The supply of cheap labour however continues unabated. Another 728 Africans landed in Brindisi yesterday



so now both Brindisi and Taranto are receiving them each day.

On a personal note I have managed to go down with shingles which trust me is quite painful. So posts over the next 7 days as I swallow horse tables to try to clear it up will be spasmodic .

Seems there is now a vaccine for it for us oldies but I hadn’t heard about it worse luck.

I remember at my Prep School one morning a at prayers the headmaster was absent and the stand in announced he had shingles and would not be around for a few weeks.

None of us had ever heard of shingles but Cox Major was one of the few day boys there and went home that evening to tell his parents. He returned the next day to explain the disease to us boarders. It is highly dangerous he told us with relish. A band of scabs gradually appears around the patient’s waist and if the band joins together then the patient is toast. The day was spent with groups of us busy predicting when the not popular headmaster would sink away once the spots met each other.

I presume Cox Major rather embellished what his parents told him but am at the mirror hourly just to make sure !





About hereinpuglia

Retired to Puglia after some 40 years in the travel industry working for P&O Lines, British Airways, Alamo rent-a-car,Abercrombie&Kent, owner of Quest Tours and Travel and finally with Thomas Cook North America. Married to Geraldine we now have a small house with too much land near the town of Martina Franca in Puglia. Two kids one married and living in Hong Kong and the other single and living in London. No dogs, no cats no animals.
This entry was posted in Expat in Italy, Expat Italy, Italian Living, Puglia, Puglia Food, Puglia Guide, Puglia Lifestyle, Puglia Living and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Toms

  1. Nancy says:

    I am in the US and had shingles a few years ago. It was diagnosed early and my dermatologist prescribed Valtrex. He said if you take it early on it can help to keep the spreading to a minimum. It worked for me. Not sure if this would be marketed under the same name in Italy (or if it is even available there) but you may want to look into it. Good luck!!

    • hereinpuglia says:

      Yes, I am on Valtrex or the Italian equivalent but same drug. Pills the size of gherkins. Fingers crossed they do contain it. Thanks for letting me know it is very kind of you. Not a nice thing to have.

  2. Denise Bowes says:

    Today Friday 8th August we have in the UK papers ‘Olive groves in crisis as disease attacks trees’.
    Puglia. I checked ‘Puglia, pollution’ on Google, came up with your blog and guess I really don’t have to look any further. Absolutely frightening.

    • hereinpuglia says:

      And it has now spread further south towards the bottom of the heel in the last month. More and more government bodies are forming committees but there is no cure. There has never been an outbreak on Mainland Europe before and so without trying to be alarmist the whole olive business is at risk. Cheers Mike

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