What to Give: ‘The Farmer’s Guild Cookbook’ | Civil Eats

What to Give: ‘The Farmer’s Guild Cookbook’

cookbook_featuredSearching for the perfect holiday gift for your locavore friends? The Farmer’s Guild Cookbook makes a great stocking stuffer. A beautiful collection of recipes and photographs, the book highlights the new and young farmers from across Northern California. The Farmer’s Guild selected each farmer who offers advice on cooking the food they grow themselves.

The book tells a series of stories about a new generation returning to the land with a vision for a new food system. With gorgeous photographs by Florencia Aicnerolf, Koby Guye, Janae Lloyd, and Olivia Maki, the cookbook gathers “snapshots of a movement to replace commodities with food, to return our notion of market supply back into relationships with agricultural entrepreneurs and to reconceive consumer demand.”

With these farmers and recipes, you’ll taste hope, hard work, and passion. And, as the book rightly notes: When it comes to ingredients, ask a farmer.

BrambleTailHomestead_AubrieMazeAndScottKelley_JanaeLloydAubrey Maze and Scott Kelley, Bramble Tail Homestead

Maze and Kelley offer fresh milk from their herd-sharing collective. Between the orchards of Sebastopol and the redwoods nearby, this homesteading couple manages a small herd of Jersey cows for a 50-person cooperative.

BrambleTailHomestead_Plated_JanaeLloydBramble Tail Homestead’s Mozzarella

FirstLightFarm_Jesse Pizzitola_JanaeLloydJesse Pizzitola and Lisa Murgatroyd, First Light Farm

At this thriving 20-acre certified organic operation, Pizzitola brings biodynamic farming to First Light Farm CSA, offering members a weekly supply of the season’s finest vegetables.

FirstLightFarm_Plated_JanaeLloydPizzitola’s Ratatouille

GrangeFarmSchool_RuthieKing_Olivia MakiRuthie King, Grange Farm School

Through a comprehensive curriculum, King and the Grange Farm School are training the next generation in responsible and sustainable food production, while building a brand new farm for Mendocino County.

GrangeFarmSchool_Plated_Olivia MakiKing’s Avgolmeno Soup

MonkeyRanch_AaronGilliam_JanaeLloydAaron Gilliam, Monkey Ranch

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Gilliam manages Dorper and Katahdin sheep at Monkey Ranch just outside of Petaluma.  The flock is rotated daily onto new pastures by using electric netting and are considered byproducts of broader ecological restoration and regeneration of perennial grasses.

MonkeyRanch_Plated_JanaeLloydGilliam’s Autumn Lamb Loaf

StoneMealFarm_Thomas Herzog_FlorenciaAicnerolfThomas Herzog, Stone Meal Farm

Despite the challenges that first-generation farmers face, Herzog is an example of what’s required to get started: not just land and money, but also tenacity and the willingness to keep learning. He has turned one acre at Stone Meal Farm, just north of Santa Cruz, into a thriving vegetable farm serving two local farmers’ markets.

StoneMealFarm_Plated_FlorenciaAicnerolfHerzog’s Spaghetti Squash Alfredo Bowl

TrueGrassFarms_GuidoFrosini_JanaeLloydGuido Frosini, True Grass Farms

At True Grass Farms, Frosini, a steward of the land and grass farmer, is working to restore the organic pasturelands that have been in his family since 1867.


True Grass’ Beef Steaks and Pork Chop

The cookbook, retailing for $25, is both a fundraising effort and a promotional campaign for the Farmers Guild, which hosts a series of Holiday launch parties this week. You can read more about the important work the Guild is doing here.

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Recipe: Spaghetti Squash Alfredo Bowl

1 medium spaghetti squash (3-4 lbs)
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp. cream cheese
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. whole wheat flour
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 35O F. Halve squash lengthwise, remove seeds. Rub olive oil on exposed flesh. Place cavity-side down on baking sheet and bake for 1 hour (test softness by piercing with butter-knife).

Melt butter in saucepan on medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1-2 min. Slowly add flour while whisking to remove clumps. Cook while stirring for 5 min. Add cream cheese, stir until melted. Whisk in milk and bring to simmer. Remove sauce from heat and whisk in grated Parmesan. Salt and pepper to taste.

Place squash cavity-side up on baking sheet. With a fork, loosen spaghetti strands without tearing the squash skin. Pour sauce equally into each half of squash, using fork to lightly mix with spaghetti strands.

Lightly cover with Parmesan and place squash under broiler to lightly brown and bubble the cheese. Remove and garnish with chopped parsley and red chili flakes.

Naomi Starkman is the founder and editor-in-chief of Civil Eats. She was a 2016 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford and co-founded the Food & Environment Reporting Network. Naomi has worked as a media consultant at Newsweek, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, GQ, WIRED, and Consumer Reports magazines. After graduating from law school, she served as the Deputy Executive Director of the City of San Francisco’s Ethics Commission. Naomi is an avid organic gardener, having worked on several farms.  Read more >

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