A Walk in the Ager

Stari Grad Plain, looking towards Vrbanj

Stari Grad Plain, looking towards Vrbanj

We set out early this morning for a walk in the fields while it was still cool and pleasant. The “streets” of the Stari Grad Plain are wide enough for carts, and generally run in an easy-to-navigate grid pattern, though at the eastern end they tend to turn and meander a little more.

Street between the fields

Street between the fields

Connecting the streets with individual fields are person-width (or is it donkey-width?) paths. Many of these seem to be overgrown and disused along with too many of the fields, so exploring the connections comes with frequent backtracking.

Path between the fields

Path between the fields

At this time of year, the olives are still ripening, and won’t be ready for harvesting until after the grapes are in. With not much rain over the summer this year, there’s concern about the olive crop. There would usually be some summer thunderstorms to top up water levels, but even the cisterns are low by now.


Ripening olives

Another tasty local product is honey. Tucked away in a shady field we spotted these bee-hives.


Beehives in a shady field

The main crop here, of course, are the grapes. It seems everyone has their own little field where they grow vegetables, vines and olives. That’s been the way of life here for thousands of years, ever since the Greeks, then the Romans cultivated this plain.

Wild grapes

Wild grapes are very small and mostly pips!

It’s hard to tell exactly how old some of the old stone field shelters are. The same basic structure was used from ancient through medieval times.


Old stone shelter – known locally as a trim

Nowadays, there is a more modern version – usually complete with BBQ and shady seating area…

Modern field shelter

Modern stone field shelter

The vineyards are a lot of work, and a carefully tended field is a beautiful sight.


Beautifully tended vineyard

The grapes grown on the plain include Plavac Mali, and though the wine produced from here is not of the same high quality as that of the southern slopes, it’s still pretty good.

Black grapes

Black grapes ripening on the vine

This is also a good area for white wine production, Bogdanuša and Parč are grown here. I don’t know enough about grapes to tell what these are!

White grapes

White grapes almost ready for harvest

As usual, our early morning walk took far longer than we expected, but we did finally find our way round in a loop and back to the village. We had a little help from a couple of local folks working their fields. With typical hospitality, we were given a bunch of grapes to try, some figs fresh off the tree, and a glass of homemade rakija to wash them down. What a great start to the day!


Thistle growing by the path