marta focaccia 300I have always felt honored to have a sense of belonging in many differente places. I spent several years leaving between new york and Rome and before that I had made traveling and discovering new places and cultures a big part of my life. In the past ten years though, I decided to live in Umbria, embracing the country life with my husband Breon (a real newyorker) and our two children. We took charge of the organic farm my grandfather bought in the Seventies and we transformed it into a holiday farm. During the years of transformation (the restoration of the building, the process for obtaining the licence to operate as a touristic facility) our children were experiencing nature at the right time in their lives and we got to know our Umbria. We started being hosts to people from Italy or other countries and the experience has been ever since enriching.
I came from a degree in particle Particle Physics and a Master in Science Communication, so in many ways I had to learn from scratch how to manage an organic farm, how to transform our land’s products into preserved ones or jams. How to use our products, as well as the local ones, to make breakfast’s or dinner’s dishes.
I had to learn the rhythms of the country, which are often unforgiving (like in the summer when every day you have to pick fruit and use it before it would go bad), but could also be very slow (like in the winter when everything is asleep and you are “forced” to rest and nurture the mind).
I didn’t grow up in Umbria, so I had to learn the many recipes and tradition of a region I choose as my home. In doing so I included the culinary secrets I learned in my family and the ones imported from my life in the States, as well as so many ideas that my guests were willing to share with me about their cooking experience.
The importance of nature, the value of being able to grow our own food (vegetables and meat alike) and the value of creating things with your own hands has always been nurtured in my family of origin. I learned how to cook as a child, as well as how to card wool, how to knit or sew, always encouraged to use creativity and hard work, as well as the resources at hands, in order to solve practical problems. This kind of education helped me endure the challenges of country life but also reinforced a believe in our strong connection with nature which I tried to pass along to my kids and to all our guests of the holiday farm.

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