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It's August already! It’s hard to believe because the weather has been so strange…hot in May, cold and rainy in June, but finally in July and August, some sun and normal pool weather. In the spring I had lots of cherries, but they weren’t as sweet this year because they were so full of water. I cooked them longer and needed more sugar, and the end result was applauded in the breakfast room. This week I am making caponata with the abundance of eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and onions in the garden. Soon I’ll be on to plums and figs.

Organic Olive OilThe joy of summer is being outside, and we have enjoyed many meals with our summer guests and family so far!

Business has been slower this year, and I know why… the economy, and as a result, my focus is on the economy of the kitchen so that we can thrive in these lean times as well. I’m looking back to the peasant cuisine of the past here in Tuscany and putting together my next book, Cucina Povera, Good Food for Hard Times (working title).

We remain optimistic about the future. This has been the best year ever for our organic olive oil sales. Besides our online sales Pace da Poggio Etrusco, we are now in selected stores in the US such as the Pasta Shop in Rockridge Market Hall (Oakland, CA). We have also started selling our organic jams here at the farm, and now have Johnny’s art prints and aprons for sale online Johnny Johns art.

1970 FiatAnd, while I’m at it, I guess I should mention that the Cinquino (1970 Fiat 500) is for sale. I guess Johnny is ready for another project with another car... We can help arrange overseas shipping, if you are interested!

Be sure to pick up a copy of the August issue of Cooking Light magazine and read the fabulous article about my Cinque Terre program; an attendee's photo diary also online at Cooking Light. This week I also did a podcast interview with Anthony Capozzoli's "How to Tour Italy," a great trip-planning resource on iTunes. And, did any of you see Italian Food Artisans on Rachael Ray this spring? Our Tuscan workshop was a prize for one of her cooking contests, and by all reports Rachael was gushing over Poggio Etrusco and our workshops. We hope to have a clip on our website soon.

Tuscan FarmhouseI have also finally given in to the World of Blog, and have started a bit of journaling at My Tuscan Farm.
If you become a ‘follower,’ you will get my updates via email.

I am also on Facebook, which is a lot of fun. I hope you will become a friend of Pamela Sheldon Johns and a fan of Poggio Etrusco.

Airfares are exceptional right now! I just booked our December vacation to California with roundtrip tickets from Rome for only $700! Check out the specials for coming over here this fall...

I have three fall Tuscan workshops and one Cinque Terre workshop, each with a few spaces left:

*28 September - 3 October… Walking, Cooking, Eating in the Cinque Terre (special Cooking Light promo, only Euro 2450/person!)

* 5-10 October ….Traditional Tuscany
* 12-17 October …. Tuscan Grape Harvest
* 26-31 October …. Tuscan Olive Harvest

Even though the exchange rate is still better than last year, given the current global economic situation, I would like to offer a Cucina Povera discount to my newsletter readers (and your friends) for any of the Tuscan programs in October. The current workshop fee of Euro 2650 converts to $3700, but anyone who registers before August 20 can come for $3200 person. That is a savings of $500 per person.

Mille Miglia CarThe culinary workshop schedule is up for 2010 and we have lots of fun planned, including the popular Vintage Cars & Artisanal Food held in conjunction with the Mille Miglia vintage car rally mid-May. On this trip, you drive a vintage car to enjoy amazing food in northern Italy.

Truffle HuntingGreat new options for the Tuscan programs including walking, biking, and spa days!

And, in October we will be again truffle hunting with Beppe and Titina in Piemonte, visiting the Slow Food Salone del Gusto, and much, much more...dropping the price by Euro 100 as well!


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