Books we love – summer reading suggestions!

Below is a list of some favorite books, new and old, from MFFM Board, staff, and friends. These suggestions are all related to farmers’ markets and farming – some more tangentially than others! (Many are available as audio books, for listening in the car or on the tractor.) These would also make good gifts for friends and family with an interest in local foods. May we suggest:


The French Market Cookbook – Clotilde Dusoulier (Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2013). This vegetarian cookbook is arranged by season, and features simple recipes focusing primarily on the fruits and vegetables commonly found at farmers’ markets. The French angle means the recipes seem unusual, if simple, such as Jerusalem artichoke and potato canapes, and the tomato mustard tart. (Leigh Hallett)

Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets – Deborah Madison (10 Speed Press, 2008). This is a cookbook, but is built around seasonal farmer’s market shopping and has some nice market anecdotes. (Brittany Hopkins)

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking – Samin Nostrat (Simon and Schuster, 2017). “By explaining the hows and whys of good cooking, SALT FAT ACID HEAT will teach and inspire a new generation of cooks how to confidently make better decisions in the kitchen and cook delicious meals with any ingredients, anywhere, at any time.) (Tasha Gerkin, Maine SNAP-Ed.)

Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom – Deborah Madison (Ten Speed Press, 2013). “I LOVE this book and have fallen back in love with it recently with all the fresh produce that’s available right now!” – Tasha Gerken, nutrition educator.

The Wildcrafted Cocktail: Make Your Own Foraged Bitters, Infusions, and Garnishes – Ellen Zachos (Storey Publishing, 2017). This of-the-moment little recipe book will make your next party memorable, on the cheap. It includes ingredients that are often available at FMs. (LH)

A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen Easy Seasonal Dishes for Family and Friends – Jack Bishop (Houghton Mifflin 2004) is another good cookbook with recipes that feature veggies that actually are available together at the same time/season, and thus ideal for farmers’ market shoppers. (BH)


Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm – Forrest Pritchard. (Lyons Press, 2013.) In this memoir, Pritchard describes “the crash course in sustainable agriculture” he endured after taking over the family farm right out of college. (Spoiler alert: there’s a happy ending.) (Hanne Tierney)

Giving Good Weight – John McPhee (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1975). This is a collection of prolific writer John McPhee’s classic essays, featuring the lengthy title piece, “Giving Good Weight.” The essay explores McPhee’s experience as a farmers’ market vendor at various of New York’s Greenmarkets back in the 70s, when the markets were newly established and shoppers and vendors alike were finding their way. At times humorous, at times poignant, at times education, the essay sometimes calls to mind the adage, “the more things change, the more things stay the same.” (Mark Guzzi)

Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-Changing Egg Farm, From Scratch – Lucie Amundsen (Penguin Random House 2016). This memoir tells the story of how a family with no agricultural experience not only started a farm, but used innovative techniques to scale up quickly. The author may be a guest speaker at the 2018 Maine Agricultural Trades Show. (Tori Jackson)

Modified: GMOs and the Threat to Our Food, Our Land, Our Future – Caitin Shetterly (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2016). This explores whether GMOs are safe, following the author’s personal journey to resolve health issues within her family. “This is a rare breed of book that will make you nostalgic for the majestic beauty that America’s Great Plains once held, while at the same time forcing you to harvest deep seeds of doubt about the invisible monsters that come to us in the foods we feed ourselves and our families.” (Angie Wotton)

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals – Michael Pollan (Penguin, 2007). This award-winning modern classic helped invigorate the conversation about the American diet by exploring the contents of the foods lining grocery store shelves. (Emily Buswell)

The Permaculture Market Garden: A Visual Guide to a Profitable Whole-systems Farm Business – Zach Loeks (New Society Publishers, 2016). “In The Permaculture Market Garden, author Zach Loeks brings together his passion for sustainable permaculture food production systems and beautiful, vibrant illustrations to provide a highly visual guide to the smooth integration of permaculture into the market garden, in ways that are scalable to specific situations.” (Tyler Omand.)

Rebuilding the Food Shed: How to Create Local, Sustainable, and Secure Food Systems – Phillip Ackerman-Leist (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2013). “Showcasing some of the most promising, replicable models for growing, processing, and distributing sustainably grown food, this book points the reader toward the next stages of the food revolution. It also covers the full landscape of the burgeoning local-food movement, from rural to suburban to urban, and from backyard gardens to large-scale food enterprises.” Prof. Ackerman-Leist will be the keynote speaker at MFFM’s 10th annual Maine Farmers’ Market Convention, January 11th, 2018. (Heather Oman)

Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered – E.F. Schumaker (Harper and Row, 1973). “E.F. Schumacher’s riveting, richly researched statement on sustainability has become more relevant and vital with each year since its initial groundbreaking publication during the 1973 energy crisis. A landmark statement against “bigger is better” industrialism, Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful paved the way for twenty-first century books on environmentalism and economics.” (Jimmy DeBiasi)

Turn Here – Sweet Corn; Organic Farming Works – Atina Diffley (University of Minnesota Press, 2012). This is a story not only of a family finding their way in organic farming, but also a story of battling the Big Man, when the family are faced with devastating land seizures for the sake of a new pipeline. (HT)

Genre Fiction

The Farmers’ Market Mishap – Wanda & Jean Brunstetter (Shiloh Run Press, 2017). An uncomplicated story in the Amish fiction genre (there are hundreds of such books written by contemporary English novelists featuring Amish characters).

The “Farmers’ Market Mystery” series, by Paige Shelton. These paperback mysteries are set in farms and farmers’ markets in the Carolinas. Though they feature murders, they are not particularly scary, but are charming and entertaining.


A Garden Alphabet – Isabel Wilner (Dutton Books, 1991). Humorous, informative and veggie rhyme packed! A storytime favorite. (Emily Buswell)

Molly’s Organic Farm – Carol Malnor (Dawn Pub., 2012). This book is not just about organic practices, but the whole journey from field to table and the community farms can inspire. FMs and their are benefits specifically mentioned. (Emily B.)

One Red Apple – Harriet Zeifert (Blue Apple Books, 2009). Incredible illustrations! Nostalgia abounds in this story from seed to future tree. (Emily B.)

Rah, Rah, Radishes! – April Pulley Sayre (Little Simon, 2014). Emilie describes this board book as, “a lyrical jaunt through all the veggies you might find at a market.” (Emilie Knight)