David lives in Cyprus and is a farmingfriends friend who has been corresponding with me since the end of last year. I am always keen to read about life in Cyprus on the Troodos Mountains particularly as I have visited the Troodos mountains, so here is David’s fifth letter to me:
Hi Sara and all at Farming Friends.
It is now 8 August and today it is the village festival here in Tsada. It is held at the local primary school and the whole village attends so much so that Aristos does not bother to open his restaurant and his daughter Loukia is dancing in the festival troupe. As usual it will be wine beer and loads of food with music and dancing speeches by the Muktar (our head man) and probably a representative from the Ministry of Culture. We all sit at long tables in the playground so it really has a friendly atmosphere.
You see I really do not know where the days go. It is now 22nd August! The village festival was excellent fun with good food and much music and dancing. Quite a few more english have settled in the village but this year we all made a special effort to avoid being a british enclave and moved about chatting with our cypriot neighbours and friends. My greek is improving but slowly as all the cypriots wish to practise their english. I think I will have to emigrate up to Lemithou where few speak english but then as I will learn a mountain patois it is unlikely that I will be understood in Pafos let alone Greece!
On the farming front we have suffered a bad attack of “Downy mildew” on many of the grape vines in the Drouseia and Ineia areas in the north west part of the island. Sadly Tsada has not escaped either and several people have failed crops myself included where many bunches of grapes are just rotting on the vine. I understand that the correct name is Peronosporos and the locals tell me that it is due this year to the rainfall that we experienced in May. Unfortunately many farmers did not spray their crops to prevent the problem believi ng that the rainfall for the year had ended. As these crops are in many cases the major source of income it is hoped that some assistance will come from the Ministry of Agriculture. If any Farming Friend has experienced a similar problem in the past I would be pleased to hear of any succesful treatment or prevention method.
I called at Nelion winery yesterday and understand that there has been some problem in the lower Troodos area but not too severe as far as they can tell. The grape harvest is about to start so let us hope that there will not be too much loss.
My vines are coming on quite well although I have lost about 10 out of the 75 so far planted. I will make these up next year and hope to put in another 100 or so. The fruit trees are also doing well although I did suspect that the moufflon were feeding on the young leaves. I think however that it is the wind which is causing the damage so I have erected windbreaks to see if this solves the problem. Temperatures are still well into the 30’s even in the Troodos and it is really too hot to work after midday so I tend to leave Tsada about 4:30 to get there in time to do a reasonable amount of work. I think I have finally identified the water sump as much of the sub soil is very damp in one area so I am digging away merrily. Next month I hope to get my cherry, peach and olive trees ready for planting and then will start work on the field shelter before the winter sets in.
I am also pleased to say that the fig tree is now covered in fruits which still need to ripen off but should be ready in late september.
I have found an interesting recipe courtesy of Rick Stein in his book “Fruits of the Sea” It is “A Light Fig Tart with Yoghurt Soured Cream” and should go well with a nice drop of Commanderia or similar. I have to say that I have found a real affinity for squid and cuttle fish both of which are plentiful and fresh out here. Once again there are some excellent recipes in his book. I must have a look at James Martin’s cookery books as he is excellent at desserts and puddings.
Grapes and melon are plentiful now and tomatoes get cheaper by the day. Georgios my neighbour keeps handing out plums melon and eggs to all and Marina came with a large bunch of Black Rose grapes which are firm and sweet but do not keep too long.
Well it is time for a drop of wine at Aristos taverna and hopefully someone will be in the village square selling produce.
Best wishes to you all at Farming Friends.
I always find it so interesting to hear about the farming in the Troodos mountains. If anyone has any advice for David about “Downy mildew” on grape vines then please leave a comment, thanks.
If you would like to read David’s other letters then click on the following links: