The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook

August 13, 2007

The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes and Stories from the Market and Farm by Amelia Saltsman came recommended to us by a friend. Amelia, who has been shopping this particular market for over twenty years, has written a season-by-season handbook – alive with real farm market characters and more than 100 recipes. Santa Monica is home to one of the country’s first and foremost farm markets, but the story is also that of an estimated 3,000 farmers’ markets that have sprung up across the country in recent years.

The book is about accessing a bit of the exotic, finding new ingredients, and cooking with seasonal foods. Amelia also offers tips on how to shop, select and store fresh items, useful plant terms, basic kitchen techniques, handy pantry items, and helpful kitchen tools. It is a wonderful book for spring and fall when fresh farmer’s markets are thriving and at their peak.

About the Author: Amelia Saltsman is passionate about farm markets, the treasures found there, and the individual stories each vendor brings to the table. She is a writer, a cooking teacher, and the producer and host of an LA-based television show, Fresh From the Farmers’ Market. The cookbook was published by her own company, Blenheim Press, named for the Blenheim apricots which are grown exclusively in the Santa Clara Valley region. These special fruits, considered a delicacy, are said to be the best-tasting apricots in the world. Try them dried (from Trader Joe’s) or take a trip to southern California to taste them fresh.

Recipe: Classic Tomato Soup with a Goat Cheese Swirl

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

suzannesimon August 17, 2007 at 6:50 am

Comment from the author (Amelia Saltsman) – The Blenheims are not exclusive to the Santa Clara area, but you’re right on all other counts–they have amazing flavor, and have long been a favorite backyard tree. 40-50 years ago, Blenheims were often found in supermarkets because of their great flavor, but were replaced by newly developed varieties that were sturdier, blemish free, and easier to pick, but sadly lacking in flavor and texture. I am curious to know if anyone in other parts of the country have had success with a backyard blenheim tree.


kmberrien September 15, 2007 at 8:28 pm

I had never heard of Blenheims until I came across this jam online one day. I ordered a jar, despite the very hefty price tag, and was hooked! It is so tasty that I hid the jar in the back of the fridge so I wouldn’t have to share any! I will be on the lookout for fresh Blenheims next season. I LOVE really good apricots.


Anonymous September 18, 2007 at 8:50 am

A customer told me about this little comment section since I am the one who makes the blenheim jam. It is a very tasty fruit, and there is another variety that is also good, so we have been told, but have yet to taste called moorpark. There are around 5 people left in the Santa Clara area who grow blenheims, since they are traditional to this region, but we know of other people growing the trees in other places. But the blenheim is just half of what makes our jam special. The other half is the special way we make the jam that no one knows how to do. There are nurseries that you can purchase a blenheim tree such as this one:

They fruit pretty fast, so why not try planting one!



Katherine October 9, 2007 at 5:33 pm

I LOVE apricot jam and when I read the first comment I thought maybe I might go for it even though the price is a bit high. Eric I love that you submitted a comment, which truly made me want the jam all the more. I make the wonderful “Free-Form Apple Tart or Galette” Page 414 from Julia Child and Jacques Pepin’s book “Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home” which requires an apricot glaze on top, with the abundance of apples this time of year, I know what I am doing with my first jar!!!


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