Now that I’ve laid the foundation for sharing what I know about farmer’s markets, I’d like to share with you some of the farmer’s market cookbooks that I have collected over the years.
Before I do, let me say that farmer’s market cookbooks are abundantly available. While searching for the price on one cookbook the other day, I discovered 255 hits on Amazon.com – and found myself buying one that caught my eye and the price was right. Actually, there are probably more than a dozen of the books listed on Amazon.com that I would like to add to my collection. There are farmer’s market cookbooks all over the U.S.A. – even one in Hawaii!
The only one I didn’t find listed on Amazon or Alibris is my oldest FARMERS MARKET COOKBOOK BY NEILL AND FRED BECK – this is the original, 1951 farmers market cookbook located in Hollywood, California, that the Becks became a part of in 1934. Yes, nineteen-thirty-four! The original idea for the farmer’s market hit the planning stage on Mrs. Beck’s kitchen table. The book, published in 1951 by Henry Holt and Company, boasts of a foreword by M.F.K. Fisher and was dedicated to H. Allen Smith. I was just plain lucky that I found a copy with its dust jacket intact—who knows how many years ago—and bought for under $3.00.
I really didn’t get to know the Hollywood Farmer’s Market until the late 1970s, when I started working at a health plan on Sunset Boulevard. About once a week my friends and coworkers, Connie & Patti, would drive down to the Farmer’s Market to pick up some treats. My #1 favorite was the Pecan Pralines sold at one of the candy stores. #2 favorite was Sherried Walnuts, a recipe I adopted and made my own. Every so often, a group of us would make a quick trip to the Farmer’s Market and buy sandwiches to go – to bring back and eat in the office lunchroom. Hollywood was really new to me at the time – so much to see and explore. We’d see lines of tourists waiting outside of the CBS building to get inside and see some shows. You could also find CBS employees giving away tickets to shows in the Farmer’s Market. And the Farmer’s Market was always packed with tourists.
I don’t know how difficult it may be to find a copy of the Farmers Market Cookbook by Neill and Fred Beck—but it’s a great book to have in your cookbook collection.
In 1975, FARMER’S MARKET COOKBOOK by Florine Sikking was published by Armstrong Publishing in Los Angeles and is a sequel to the original Hollywood Farmer’s Market Cookbook. It’s a good companion copy to the original cookbook by the Becks—this one provides more history of the Hollywood Farmer’s Market and has photographs taken at various vendor’s stalls. This is a soft cover cookbook—and I am unable to find it listed on Amazon.com. Keep it in mind to look for.
THE FARMERS MARKET COOKBOOK by Fran Jurga Garvan was published in 1982 by the Harvard Common Press in Harvard, Massachusetts. This book is divided by months, starting logically with January, in which the author provides a list of all the fruits and vegetables you can expect to find in that month. Captivating illustrations were provided by artist W. David Powell.
Prices start on Amazon.com at one cent for a pre-owned paperback copy or $4.49 for a pre-owned hardcover. I am tempted to buy one of the hardcover copies just to get the dust jacket; mine is missing.
The Central Market Cookbook was published in 1989 and is packed with enticing recipes and mouth-watering photographs. This issue is available on Amazon.com starting at one cent for a pre-owned copy. While I was checking on a price, I discovered that Phyllis Good has published a new cookbook about Central Market, “Fresh from Central Market Cookbook, Favorite Recipes from the Standholders of the Nation’s Oldest Farmer’s Market” published in 2009 – only one copy is left on Amazon and it’s priced at $12.34.
THE FARM MARKET COOKBOOK by Judith Olney was published in 1991 and is subtitled “conversations, recipes, cooking tips, growing hints, mail-order sources, a geographical guide and everything else you should know about farmers’ markets”. This one is a hardcover cookbook with a dust jacket and does not appear to have been reprinted. It is listed on Amazon.com starting at one cent for a pre-owned copy or as low as $1.99 for a new copy. I like Judith Olney’s writing style – maybe because it is so similar to my own. If you like a cookbook that offers you a friendly, chatty style – then this one is for you.
Published in 1993 is FRESH MARKET WISCONSIN, subtitled Recipes, Resources and Stories Celebrating Wisconsin Farm Markets and Roadside Stands, by Terese Allen. The last chapter of FRESH MARKET WISCONSIN provides a list of all the farmer’s markets in operation in 1993. This is a soft cover cookbook with absolutely enticing recipes and I found it on Amazon.com starting at one cent for a pre-owned copy or new for the low price of $7.00. (it originally sold for $14.95). FYI – if you type in FRESH MARKET WISCONSIN on Amazon.com, several other interesting fresh market guides for Wisconsin follow the above listing. (This is how I get carried away and buy half a dozen cookbooks in one fell swoop on Amazon!)
Next on my list is THE FARMERS MARKET COOKIN’ FROM HILO HAWAII, Collected Recipes and Stories by Sandy Knies Foley Bonk, published in 1993. This is quite a comprehensive cookbook with loads of recipes—some you may have never encountered before, a history of the farmers’ market in Hilo, and entertaining illustrations. Overall, it’s unlike any other Hawaiian cookbook I have ever had the pleasure to read. There appears to be an updated version listed on Amazon.com, which is priced at $17.50.
One of my favorite cookbooks featuring California Farmers’ Markets is a spiral bound cookbook published in 1994. The Title is LIMES ARE YELLOW/Shopping for the Finest at California’s Farmers’ Markets, Including Recipes, by Mary Luce Wellington. I just love this cookbook. It is listed on Amazon.com for $1.18 pre-owned, or $12.99 new. What is especially likable about LIMES ARE YELLOW is the inclusion of many fruits you may not be very familiar with (such as loquats or persimmons). LIMES ARE YELLOW will tell you all you need to know about unusual fruits—vegetables, too.
From Michigan Farm Markets and Farm Stands, is a soft cover cookbook titled CELEBRATE THE HARVESTS! By Don and Nelle Frisch, published in 1995. There is an extensive introduction and lists of the various farm markets in Michigan. It took a while to find this one on Amazon.com but I finally did. It s available for $3.15 for a pre owned copy or $12.12 for a brand new copy. It reminded me of the trip my sister Becky and I made one year in the late 1990s—we drove around Lake Michigan and stopped whenever we found a fruit or vegetable stand. The highlight of our trip was venturing into the upper peninsula (we were actually searching for lighthouses) but when we found a fruit stand we pulled over to take a look. We brought back jars of cherry jam with us.
Another cookbook from Central Market in Lancaster, Pa. is RECIPES FROM CENTRAL MARKET, published in 1996. It was also written by Phyllis Pellman Good and Louise Stoltzfus. Lots of new recipes from these two prolific cookbook writers. This is a hardcover cookbook with copies starting at one cent on Amazon.com or $8.24 for a new copy.
FRESH FROM THE FARMERS’ MARKET by Janet Fletcher is one that I reviewed for you a few days ago. This one was published in 1997 by Chronicle Books.
Another cookbook from Michigan is ANN ARBOR FRESH, Recipes and Stories from the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market and the Kerrytown Historic District, by Raquel B. Agranoff and Lois Kane, published in 1998. This one can be yours for one cent from Amazon.com, for a pre-owned copy, or $10.96 for a new copy. Anyone who loves Ann Arbor (I do! I do!) will want to add this softcover cookbook to your collection.
If you are interested in farmer’s market cookbooks—just go to Amazon.com or Alibris.com and start searching. I know there are dozens more than what I have on my shelves.
-Review by Sandra Lee Smith