What: “The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook” by Georgeanne Brennan and Ann M. Evans
When: Will be published in March; gift cards redeemable for signed copies may be purchased at the Davis Farmers Market beginning Saturday, Nov. 26
Where: Market booth in Central Park, Fourth and C streets
Sneak peek: www.davisfarmersmarketcookbook.com
When The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook (Mirabelle Press, $24.95) is published in March, home cooks will find a unique, food lover’s point of view, close to home.
Co-authors Georgeanne Brennan and Ann M. Evans deliver a truly personal voice that sings the praises of California’s small farms and one of California’s first and foremost farmers markets.
Brennan has 30 cookbooks and garden books to her credit, as well as a memoir, “A Pig in Provence.” She’s won a Julia Child Award for her book, “Apertif,” and a James Beard Award for “The Food and Flavors of Haute Provence.” She also writes for newspapers and magazines, including the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, Bon Appetit and Fine Cooking.
Brennan said her writing draws upon personal experiences and insights, with her own vision.
“As Ann and I structured the book, we opted for a dual voice in the recipe head notes, which are really the essential element of a readable cookbook — the kind you take to bed or to the beach,” she said.
Together, they created a cookbook that is authentic on multiple levels — recipes, memory and history, all within the context of the farmers and the market.
“Hopefully the end result will be a conversation between friends that readers will enjoy,” Brennan said.
Evans is co-founder of Davis Farmers Market and the Davis Food Co-op and a former mayor of Davis. In the 1970s, she was instrumental in developing regulations governing California certified farmers markets. She describes writing the cookbook as a labor of love.
“Working directly with seasonal food from the market or my garden is how I express my artistic nature,” she said. “I love the color, the smell, the alchemy of food and cooking.”
She calls the cookbook a longtime dream of sharing easy, seasonal and flavorful recipes based on the Davis Farmers Market.
“It feels like a love letter from me to Davis, Yolo County and the Sacramento region,” Evans said.
She and Brennan have been writing together for eight years, starting with a cover story for the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Magazine titled “Yolo’s Bounty: How a Quiet Farming County became a Gastronomical Powerhouse.”
For six years, they have written the monthly “From the Ground Up” column for The Davis Enterprise.
Brennan is acting as producer for the book, scheduling the many players — photographer, designer, copy editor and art director. The authors chose award-winning photojournalist Craig Lee, who won recognition from the National Press Photographers Association and Pictures of the Year for his work at the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle.
Lee worked with teams of editors, writers and designers who created the Chronicle’s food and wine section, recognized as the best in the nation in 2004, 2006 and 2007 by the James Beard Foundation.
He said he’s enjoyed discovering what a great farmers market Davis has.
“My goal was to capture the atmosphere of the Davis Farmers Market through the different seasons and the recipes that go with them,” Lee said.
Kristine Brogno, an award-winning art director/graphic designer who is design director of Children’s Publishing for Chronicle Books in San Francisco, directed the book’s graphic design.
With a full-time job and two young children, she says she rarely takes on freelance work.
“But this project was too interesting to pass up! It combines many of the things my family tries to incorporate into our everyday lives — healthy eating, sustainable practices and building strong communities,” Brogno said. “On top of that, I get to work with two amazing and powerful forces in the foodie world — Ann and Georgeanne.”
Brogno added, “The book is not only a celebration of seasonal foods, it’s a celebration of a thriving, vital community market as well as California farms.”
Brennan and Evans brought in Sharon Silva, a renowned freelance book editor who lives in San Francisco, to provide editorial direction, and who has edited many of Brennan’s cookbooks.
Brennan’s daughter Ethel, a professional prop stylist for cookbooks, advertising and catalog companies, handled the art direction, guiding the food and prop styling.
Chez Panisse founder and food activist Alice Waters wrote the cookbook’s foreword. Davis Farmers Market manager Randii MacNear penned “Reflections of a farmers market manager.”
The cookbook features more than 80 recipes, plus more than 50 full-color photos of the market, small farms and prepared dishes. There are eight recipes to adapt to any season, followed by four chapters — one for each season — each with about 20 recipes that will take a meal from start to finish.
MacNear said the market plans to use the cookbook as a platform for events throughout 2012, including book launch events; “Cookbook Day at the Market” with book-signings at the start of each season; and monthly cooking demonstrations featuring cookbook recipes.
Locals can get a sneak peek of the cookbook at www.davisfarmersmarketcookbook.com. The market will begin selling gift cards, redeemable for a signed copy of “The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook,” on Saturday, Nov. 26, at the market shed, and continue selling the cards until the book is released in March.
“When it makes its debut in March, ‘The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook’ is going to rate a top spot on bookshelves of home cooks and farmers market lovers everywhere,” MacNear said.
— Shelly Keller is marketing and events manager for the Davis Farmers Market. Reach her at [email protected]