Why this cookbook? The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook by Ann M. Evans
When I began my food tour business I wanted to show off how great the food is in Sacramento while also highlighting restaurants that practiced farm to fork as a philosophy and not just as a sound bite. That meant working with restaurants that source locally, strive for zero waste and practice sustainability. Our walking tour in Midtown Sacramento (which is on hiatus due to Covid-19) is food focused, where with each dish you eat we share with you information about the ingredients and where they came from, down to the farm and farmer. Our food box program became a natural extension of the food tours, as a way to continue to tell these stories.
I love hearing about how this farmer abandoned a banking career to try her hand at farming lavender, or learning about the Yocha Dehe people striving to take care of their ancestors' land through better farming practices. I love meeting the maker who hand picks her herbs at an herbal farm and concocts her teas in alignment with the stars for the best lunar outcome, or the young married couple that is taking a hobby that goes back 100 years in the family and turning it into a craft honey business. I believe that hearing these stories, and meeting these people adds value to what you are eating. Knowing that an actual person grew that food or hand made those items give you a connection to your food that is invaluable.
The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook was a natural addition to our monthly boxes because it not only focuses on seasonal cooking, but it also introduces you to the farmers that grow that produce. The Davis Farmers Market is thought to be one of the best in the country. Which is no surprise given that Davis is the home to one of the best agricultural schools in the country. And Yolo county’s Mediterranean climate makes it one of the best growing regions in the world. Being surrounded by farms, academics and ambitious young people led to the birth of the farmers market in the mid 1970’s. Ann M Evans, along with some friends, co-founded this market, one of the first in California.
I love this cookbook for a few reasons. One is that it is written seasonally. So when you get home from your farmers market you can easily find a recipe to satisfy your needs. You won’t have to make any special trips to the store for out of season produce or ingredients. Secondly, the book is filled with portraits and details about the farmers at the actual market. There are some farms that have been part of the Davis Farmers Market for two or three generations. That’s simply incredible and a testament to this area of Northern California and the longevity of family farming in this area. And finally, the cookbook is filled with big, full-page lush images of the recipes, and portraits of the farmers.
I actually met Ann on one of my food tours. I was nervous when I found out who she was because I am not an expert, but rather an avid enthusiast when it comes to farm to table and regional agriculture. Luckily she enjoyed the tour and gave me a thumbs up on my content. I was delighted when we decided to partner and include the book as part of my Farm to Fork in a Box program.
Ann has deep roots in Davis and the surrounding area and also co-founded the Davis Co-op, was mayor of Davis and helped co-found one of the nation’s first Farm to School programs. I’m only scratching the surface here – you can read more about Ann here and her long commitment to regional farming, fresh food and improving school lunches for children. We also caught up with Ann at the market recently, see our video below.