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Fall is a season of contrasts. Besides the obvious color change of leaves, there is a distinct softness in the air, a kind of fuzzy morning haze, with warm afternoons, cool evenings and if you're lucky and the skies are clear, a chance of a green flash over the ocean with the setting sun. I love this time to reflect on what has grown, in my life and my garden, and the sweet anticipation of what's to come.

My garden also is a contrast of various stages of growth. The Angel Pomegranate tree I planted last summer has gifted me five garnet red beauties. It has doubled in size and I imagine will continue to multiply its harvest next year. The Meyer Lemon is heavy with green fruit that is beginning to turn yellow for a most likely January crop. My raised bed gardens are filling up with young plants. I started chicory, kale, lettuce and beets from seeds. It's so interesting to be able to identify the plants when they are so tiny!

Baby kale just learning its identity.

Romaine lettuce – very assertive.

Although not yet recognizable, these will be transformed into red and golden beets. So lovely.

Fava Beans started from seedlings. The anchor of my Italian garden.

Speaking of Italy, in a few days I embark on another adventure, this time to Tuscany. I'm staying on an agritourisimo (farm) for two weeks and immersing myself into the country lifestyle. This is the beginning of the olive harvest season and I am hoping to learn the craft of making olive oil with my farm family. Tune in for recipes I gather as I meet and cook with the locals and savor the foods of the season. The ancient cultures have so much wisdom to impart. I'll keep my eyes, ears and heart open to learn from them as well as continue my search for Black Madonnas. Let the journey begin!

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Ciao for now!

Mary (Maria)