Castel Gandolfo: Harvest time at the Pope's farm
Posted November 23, 2017 12:38 p.m. EST
(CNN) — It's harvest time at Pope Francis' farm.
At the 62-acre farm in the hills outside of Rome, a basket of fresh produce is prepared for the Pope's table every morning and sent down to the Vatican.
Special requests from Francis include broccoli and cauliflower, the farmers tell us.
Handmade cheeses, milk, eggs and yoghurt are also made fresh daily and put in the Pope's basket.
The vegetable garden at the farm has a special plot where seeds from the White House, gifted to the Pope by President Obama in 2014, are planted.
"The seeds are under the earth now," says head farmer, Alessandro Reale, "but we hope in the springtime, with the help of God, to be able to pick the cucumbers, carrots and zucchini from the Obamas."
The farm is at the Castel Gandolfo estate, for centuries the summer residence and vacation retreat of the head of the Catholic Church, which Pope Francis has opened to the public.
The farm has 1,000 olive trees -- over half of them dating back to the year 1200.
Each year, they produce a small number of bottles of olive oil for the Pope and officials who live in the Vatican.
The olive oil is high-quality, Alessandro Reale tells CNN, rigorously cold-pressed by granite stone, to make sure the oil being extracted doesn't heat up and ruin the flavor.
Chickens at the farm feed on the extra dough from remnants of communion wafers, made by cloistered nuns who live on the property.
With only seven workers, the farm is a family affair, says Alessandro Reale; not just any family, of course, but one with the Pope at its table.