Wouldn’t it be so amazing if everything was as simple as my title suggests? I’m Alexandra, I recently joined the Castelo Branco FUSILLI team, and I have some exciting tips to give about our food products.
Every month, our team connects with citizens in Castelo Branco’s municipal market by the Product of the Month action. We bring a different product every month, and the rule is very simple indeed: local or seasonal or preferably both! People can taste a few snacks offered by the team, some more innovative than others, made with orange, honey, cheese, lettuce, cherry, courgette (or Zucchini), peach and tomato. Aside from that, there’s always a leaflet for each product with useful information, health benefits, interesting facts and some recipes.
The best reward is that regular market clients are starting to get curious: “Which product are you bringing next month?” and they always try to guess. Somehow it feels like some sort of game. It even reminds me of an advent calendar: you get a surprise each month!
In addition to the Product of the Month, FUSILLI will contribute to the renewal of the market space, making it more attractive and appealing to every generation! To be honest, the ideal would be to have at least one section on organic production and ensure that the products are local on the site dedicated to local producers
Honey candies made exclusively of honey and a bit of lemon juice, some also have bee pollen. Produced by CATAA, linked third party from Castelo Branco-FUSILLI project. (February 2022)
Speaking of products, I don’t know what time you’ll read this, but I’m writing to you around lunchtime. I am starving and cannot stop thinking of Beira-Baixa cheese, which has been here for over a hundred years. Our region has granitic soils and good natural pastures, which allow excellent sheep and goat milk production of, not to mention the “know-how” of the local people. You can see how this ends, right? We can also find some yummy raw milk cheeses for sale in our market. Sorry, but it’s impossible not to talk about honey after the cheese. The flowering of our region gives specific characteristics to our multi-floral honey. I’ll leave this combination to your imagination.
For dessert, there is always room for something: I think I would go for cherries now. Did you know that very near to Castelo Branco, the cold climate and soils rich in potassium have allowed our region to have one of the top cherries in Portugal? No? Here they are:
Cherries produced in the region: Cova da Beira – Protected Geographical Indication (May 2022)
By the way, an important tip for those who want a good night’s rest: tryptophan, serotonin and melatonin from cherries help improve sleep.
Fresh Cherry Sorbet being served to by our team to citizens in the municipal market, during the “Product of the Month” . Produced by CATAA. (May 2022)
Jokes aside, we have been through difficult times of drought. So, I cannot miss telling you about a friend from the region, the Lardosa cowpea, which is unique and “only likes water in the cooking pot”, as locals say. With its typical green eye this cowpea has low watering needs and is able to resist high temperatures and drought, maintaining green pastures during summer. Additionally, its roots provide soil moisture and nutrients: it is a great atmospheric nitrogen fixer.
In conversation with Mr. Adelino, one of the gardeners at our social gardens Quinta do Chinco, I learned that he often goes to the market. There, he religiously buys Beira-Baixa spicy cheese, and whenever he can, he goes to the Cowpea fair in Lardosa to buy our green-eyed friend.
In a farewell tone, I would like to let you know that our Fusilli team aims, in the near future, to implement vegetable gardens in schools to gain kids´ attention for the importance of sustainability and local produce. And by the way, the following Product of the Month will be… the grape!