Field Notes, Modern Grange

Good Books

good books

Feeding the mind with good books is nearly as important as feeding the body with good food. Both ensure that you will remain straight and tall in all the important ways.

We’re devoted to all kinds of books — particularly those about food and farming — and have an extensive personal cookbook library that we share with our customers several times a year.

We host readings and authors and are committed to continuing the local “Luminarias” series with the Healdsburg Literary Arts Guild.

But perhaps most personally pleasing is our monthly in-store book club.

Composed of staffers, SHED regulars, and that person who is just interested in the book being currently read, our book club allows for far-ranging conversation from a wide variety of view points. It’s also a lot of fun!

To start the New Year in the most thoughtful manner possible, we’ve arrayed all of our favorite new and not-so-new books for display in our Healdsburg store.

If you’re not able to stop by, don’t worry! Here are some of the books SHED friends and staff have recently enjoyed.

Here’s hoping that you do, too. Please feel free to add notice of your own favorite book in the comments section. We’d love to know!

Friend + Staff Picks

Imbibe by David Wondrich was one of my favorite books in culinary school, it is packed full of useful information for bartenders. —Riley Schmidt, SHED Cafe Manager

Simple French Cooking by Richard Olney was one of the first cookbooks that I purchased. That was over forty years ago.  The recipes are timeless classics. The techniques in the book are the basis of European cooking. —Franco Dunn, Chef

I love The Holistic Orchard. It’s the best book I know of for caring for fruit trees. Michael Phillips is an unassuming farmer and tree whisperer. His solutions, literal and figurative, work wonders. —Yael Bernier, Farmer

Mushrooms Demystified is my favorite mushroom hunting companion, because David Aurora takes the science of mushrooming and makes it hilarious.  —Chevon Holmes, SHED Retail Liaison

Market Gardener by Jean-Martin Fortier is a concise well-written book on small scale farming. It’s my go-to guide when I am trying something new or am looking for answers. —Rebecca Bozzelli, Farmer

Joel Salatin’s “Fields of Farmers” takes a creative, enterprising look at a serious problem in our country: ever-aging farmers and the challenge of passing down agricultural legacies. —Evan Wiig, The Farmers Guild

Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate — Wendy Johnson is true local hero when it comes to farming for the Earth. Wendy was my first mentor in the farming world and I feel so blessed to have had her in my life. —Rebecca Bozzelli, Farmer

Heidi Swanson’s Near & Far is the perfect cookbook for anyone afflicted by wanderlust. All of her dishes are beautiful and healthy, and there are even recipes for travel snacks, in case you get the urge to buy a ticket and go somewhere.  —Stephanie Callimanis, SHED Grange Manager

I would [also] recommend is Diane Kennedy’s The Art of Mexican Cooking. This is another book that I acquired many years ago.  I wore out my first copy and am on my second. Diane Kennedy is the doyen of Mexican cocina. This is a book that I have given as a gift many times. —Franco Dunn, Chef

The Holistic Orchard and The Apple Grower by Michael Phillips. Michael lives, eats, and breathes apple farming and uses a sustainable and biodiverse approach in doing so. —Rebecca Bozzelli, Farmer

Perfect for meditating on the New Year, Finding Yourself in the Kitchen by Dana Velden is an open invitation to eat and cook mindfully, rest and reflect deeply, and give and receive wholeheartedly. —Katherine Harris, SHED Executive Assistant

The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart is one of my favorite cookbooks. Whether you are a beginner or a trained chef, this book is all you need to make great bread! —Ginny Gilcrease, SHED Office Manager

Artisan Producers, Chefs, Cooking, Farming, Foodshed, Healdsburg, HomeFarm, Modern Grange, Nonprofits

2015: Hitting Our Groove

Was 2015 the year we hit our groove? It certainly feels like it.

2015 was the year that we welcomed new Culinary Director Perry Hoffman to our kitchen, launched dinner service, and saw a gratifying response from diners and critics alike.

It was the year that we devoted the entire month of October to learning about and immersing ourselves in the art, food, and culture of Japan.

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It was another year of Biodynamic agriculture education, of the Brave New Music series, of celebrating the Healdsburg Jazz Festival, and of happily hosting site-specific works from the UPside Dance Company in our Grange.

We were fortunate to have such master chefs as Sonoko Sakai, Mamiko Nishiyama, Kyle McConnaughton, Ali Bouzari, Dan Felder, Russell Moore, Alison Hopelain, Nancy Singleton Hachisu, Steven Satterfield, and Thomas McNaughton come cook with us and teach us in 2015.

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We hosted communal knitting nights with master crafters on hand to assist, and a communal reading night in which we pulled out our extensive library collection of books on food and agriculture to share. We lit the Grange with candles and had a meditative walk to honor the winter solstice; we filled the Grange with cushions and turned it into an ad hoc zazen for meditation.

We learned to dye cloth using natural materials and dived deeply into the re-emergence of locally grown indigo and its uses.

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We ran a cooking class series just for kids and took groups to our beloved Healdsburg Farmers’ Market before feeding them a hearty family-style lunch made from the goodies found there.

We had in-depth beekeeping classes and another workshop on pollinators of all types. (We also built and donated an Insect House that school children love!) We celebrated apples and soil. We learned to make books and about spoon carving.

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Frances Moore Lappé spoke to us of hope and foresight. Nicolette Hahn Niman and other experts taught about the importance of raising grass while raising beef. Master ceramicist Shiro Otani made an exclusive U.S. appearance with his wheel to demonstrate the ancient craft he has so gracefully modernized.

We made hot sauce and chocolate, crafted galettes, Shrubs and Shims, and cut enough fresh soba noodles for a (very) small village. We made yogurt and cheese — and sneaked back to taste more.

We showed films about the politics of food, the metaphor of gleaning, the life of the farm. We devoted an entire day to the intricacies of crafting a successful Thanksgiving meal, celebrated the work of the Famers Guild, and helped build the ranks of the North Coast Grain Alliance. West Coast Live returned for two live broadcasts that highlighted some of our favorite local thinkers, activists, and artists and filled our seats to bursting.

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Most of all: We gave thanks.

We continue to give thanks. With nearly 80 events enlivening our Grange and retail spaces in 2015, we are thankful to the community that gathers around us, the experts who enlighten us, and the farmers and chefs who feed us. We are thankful to you.

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With full hearts, we thank everyone who reads our newsletter, checks this blog, comes into our store, sips something good at our Fermentation Bar, buys a bunch of our flowers, hangs out at our Coffee Bar, grabs a bite at the Café, and lingers over something special in our retail hall. Together, this community of supporters, learners, eaters, producers, and growers has made 2015 a truly special year for us.

Here’s to an even more spectacular 2016 for all!

With peace and love,

Healdsburg SHED