Thursday, July 23, 2009

Food, etc. . . .Continued

There's another aspect to Macedonian agriculture that I find really interesting. As you might be able to tell from all the pictures I've put up, this tiny country has an incredibly varied landscape. Every small region has its own micro-climate, and is therefore usually suited to a particular crop. In each of these regions, there are towns almost entirely dependent on one crop.

Resen, between Ohrid and Bitola, produces most of Macedonia's apples. Rosoman, outside of Bitola, produces the best peaches (it's where I purchased mine - everybody gets excited when I explain the peaches are directly od Rosoman). Prilep is a tobacco town. Sveti Nikole is known for the producing the best meat, while Bitola is famed for dairy and cheese. Kocani is surrounded by rice patties. Every raisin I've eaten in Macedonia has come from Strumica, while the grapes in Negotino and Kavadarci are made into the region's best wines. The few olives grown in Macedonia come from Gevgelija. And so on.

Knowing that most apples come from Resen, or peaches from Rosoman, is one thing. Actually visiting these towns in season is a completely different experience. Prilep is completely covered with tobacco. We drove through the city on the way to Pelister, and tobacco is hung to dry in every possible place - schoolyards, public parks, laundry lines, garages, churchyards, across alleyways, and next to cafes. Rosoman, a village of no more than a few thousand, had dozens of semi-trucks loaded with peaches to ship off to the rest of Macedonia, while dozens of stalls sold smaller quantities to individuals. The streets of Kavadarci and Negotina usually run with wine all year long anyway - I can't imagine what the grape harvest will look like.

I have yet to determine if the watermelons are specific to a region - I'm thinking maybe Tetovo - but I'll be sure to find out.

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