Riding the winding roads of the Apennine mountains, I couldn’t help reflect that exactly one year ago, on a cold, rainy fall day in Upstate New York, I was picking rotten apples off the ground and explaining principles of organic orcharding to a group of Ivy League slackers. For the last seven years, I managed an organic farm on the western slopes of Cayuga Lake, proving that English majors can indeed do anything. However, “anything” often entails the sort of work it seems like strict Mennonite parents would use to punish a disobedient child: hosing off endless bins of rutabagas, typically in sub-zero temperatures; sanitizing thousands of potting trays by dunking them into a bleach solution that’s quickly freezing due to the sub-zero temperatures; or mindlessly hand-weeding beds of young carrots for eight hours straight, in—you guessed it—sub-zero temperatures. Indeed, freezing weather is no deterrent to the desperate farmer. Or to a Mennonite disciplinarian.