Judith Olney books and recipes are some of my favorites, so I don’t know why I didn’t have this one yet. I found it at a used book store last weekend and couldn’t wait to get it home. Judith calls this book a “love song to Farmer’s Markets,” and celebrates America’s small growers. It’s a source book for anyone interested in buying local and sustainable food, not to mention the incredible recipes inside. Judith traveled to markets of every size from urban centers to small towns. The book includes her adventures at the markets, cooking tips and hints from the growers, a list of mail order sources for some of the non-perishable items, over 125 recipes, and an index to markets across the country.
Since the book was written in 1991, interest in Farmer’s Markets has grown tremendously, but the book mentions many markets that are still in full swing. One of interest to me was the Marin County Farmer’s Market in San Rafael, California, not too far from the Golden Gate Bridge. It is held in the huge parking lot of the Civic Center, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and also happens to be where my mom worked for many years. I never miss this market when I am visiting my mom, and can’t emphasize enough how incredible it is, and what treasures I have found. Another nearby market in San Francisco is the one at the Ferry Building in the Embarcadero. I take the scenic ferry ride across the bay from my old former residence of Larkspur, and when the ferry docks in the short trip, the market is just a few steps away. The only brown rice I buy now is one found at the Ferry Building Market. It’s from Massa Organics, and if you love brown rice, this is the best ever! It can be purchased in 2-pound bags or 20-pound bags. I order mine online every few months.
Would you like to know what you can make with all of the wonderful products found at the markets? Judith has something for everyone: asparagus-sesame soup; bacon and cheese “scrumpets;” fava beans with grilled polenta and sage; black walnut cookies with a broiled sugar crust; buttermilk pie in a cinnamon crust; peach breakfast kuchen; fried cauliflower with toasted cumin seeds; cherry jubilee brulee; gratin of pears with mascarpone cheese; Pennsylvania Dutch cracker pudding; Pike Place shrimp cakes; Sweet Lou’s ripe banana cake; Texas turtle cheesecake cupcakes; and my favorite title- “Six Old Granny Smith Apples Baked in a Pie.”
Thomas Jefferson, who was an extraordinary gardener and gourmet cook offered the following insight:
“I have often thought that if heaven had given me choice of my position and calling, it should have been on a rich spot of earth, well watered, and near a good market for the productions of the garden.”
(Taken at the Marin County Farmer’s Market!)