In the medieval ages salt was highly valued and demanded commodity. Alongside the everyday use in cooking, salt was used for preserving meat, fish and cheese. Without salt, we would not have the famous prosciutto of Potomlje, kopsica of Brgat (cured lamb ham), primorska sausages, konserva of Konavle, just like we would not have the sarđela (sardines) of Pelješac. Hence the gastronomic importance of the Ston saltern for the Dubrovnik area.
Thanks to its numerous freshwater springs, the bay of Mali Ston is a thriving habitat of various kinds of shellfish: the oyster, mussel, date shell, clam, warty venus, horse mussel, thorny oyster, noble pen shell (fan mussel) and scallop. It is not surprise that oyster farming was recorded back in 1573 as an established activity which attests to their popularity at European courts to which they would be delivered fresh in wooden chests plated in greens.
For a farmer from Dubrovnik area, the vine was the most valuable commodity. It was grown on sunny slopes in the attempt to make the best quality wine that would reach high prices. Alongside the wellknown malvasia wine that had been mentioned as early as the 14th century, quality wine from the Pelješac peninsula (Dingač and Plavac Mali) and the island Mljet (Maraština) would find its way to Dubrovnik. The area still produces exquisite wines from various grape sorts.
Grown on the owner’s island in the Ston area, homemade olive oil is produced from olive trees up to 300 years of age. Native breeds of sheep which eat the weed in olive groves are also valuable to the olive oil production; because of them, there is no need for artificial herbicides nor artificial fertilization of the soil.
Fresh eco food
Just like in the old times, fishermen, butchers and fresh foods vendors from the surrounding villages still arrive daily to placa (market). Back in the day, women from the countryside would enter the eastern and western sides of the town donkeyback riding, carrying košice (baskets) heavily loaded with seasonal fruit, while they would stack homemade cheese on top of their heads and their burse (bags) with jugs of milk.