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Nancy Harmon Jenkins is a recognized expert on Mediterranean cuisines and the Mediterranean Diet, out of which has evolved her deep interest in regional food systems. She is a food writer and journalist, with numerous books and articles to her credit, including “Virgin Territory: An Exploration of the World of Olive Oil” (Houghton). Her other food books include “The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook” (Bantam), “Cucina del Sole: A Celebration of the Cuisines of Southern Italy,” “Flavors of Puglia,” “Flavors of Tuscany” and “The Essential Mediterranean,” examining a dozen foods key to understanding Mediterranean cuisines. A former staff writer with The New York Times, Nancy continues to contribute to the Times in addition to writing for The Washington Post, Saveur, Food & Wine, the Wall Street Journal and other national and international publications. She is currently working on “The Four Seasons of Pasta” (Viking), with her daughter Sara, chef-owner of Porsena Ristorante in New York City.

Jenkins has lived and worked throughout the countries of the Mediterranean, at various times making a home in Spain, France, Italy, Lebanon and Cyprus as well as in Hong Kong and England. She now divides her time between a Tuscan farmhouse, where she makes her own olive oil, and a home on the coast of Maine where she was born and raised. In Italy, Jenkins conducts weeklong seminars on the culture and cuisine of extra-virgin olive oil. (In 2014, these will take place in Puglia in the autumn; plans are afoot for programs in Sicily in the spring.)

Jenkins frequently conducts lectures and workshops about various aspects of the Mediterranean Diet, especially olive oil. You can read more of her writing on her site, nancyharmonjenkins.com.

Pumpkins aren't just for pie this time of year. The gourds also work well in a hearty pasta dish. Credit: Copyright 2016 Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Halloween season has begun, but I confess that for me the scariest aspect of the holiday is the pervasiveness of pumpkin spice. Not just in

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Apples ready to be picked. Credit: Copyright 2016 Nancy Harmon Jenkins

My house right now is filled with the fragrance of roses -- not from real blossoms, long gone from the garden, but from apples,

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Marcella and Victor Hazan. Credit: Copyright 2016 Barbara Banks

I've lived in Italy off and on since the 1970s, eating my way up and down the peninsula, shopping the markets, raising the vegetables

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The first asparagus of the season is a welcome garden treat. Credit: Copyright 2016 Nancy Harmon Jenkins

My father, may he rest in peace, was a champion Yankee gardener, as proud of his vegetables as he was of the considerable flowerbeds

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Cauliflower at a market in Tuscany, Italy. Credit: Copyright 2016 Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Cauliflower is about to become the new kale, according to something I read online. And that's just fine with me, because I have grown

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Fresh eggs. Credit: Copyright 2016 Nancy Harmon Jenkins

"My girls are laying so fast I can’t keep up with them," Martha says.  She has arrived at my door with another dozen eggs,

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A salmon leaping in a cage. Credit: Copyright 2016 courtesy of Cooke Aquaculture

The Monterey Bay Aquarium, a highly regarded institution, has been considered for many years a welcome watchdog over our seafood. Why? Simply because there

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Recent finds at the winter market included cauliflower, broccoli, a black radish and leeks. Credit: Copyright 2016 Nancy Harmon Jenkins

A recent trip to the produce market led me to sing hymns in praise of winter vegetables. I returned home with familiar cauliflower and

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