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And there are roses, pink with a full-bodied, musky, spirit-lifting aroma. These grow on a mature bush heads taller than me near my dad's first house. "Modern roses don't smell like that anymore," says David, because of how they've been bred instead for size and color.

As we ascend the hill, we see regimented rows of olive trees like a great broccoli forest. Our hands tickles the heads of hundreds and hundreds of sprigs of yellow-budded fennel. It's a common flavoring for sausage, but its licorice freshness is good straight up. All the while strolling up and down the steep hill over several days, I reach my hand to the nearest fennel plant, popping a fingerful into my mouth. It's nature's gratis breath mint.

 

 

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