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October 4-10, 2006

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Made in Marin

By Patricia Lynn Henley

Black angus beef. Fresh organic milk. Creamy goat cheeses. Ripe wine grapes. Year-round oysters. German butterball potatoes. Sweet onions and strawberries. Jerusalem artichokes, heirloom tomatoes, grass-fed beef and lamb. Free-range chickens and eggs. Purple eggplants, golden peppers, succulent melons, artisanal olive oil. Those are just some of the local farm products mentioned in the newly released Marin Farm Families: Stories and Recipes published by the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT).

Thanks to its dedicated practitioners, agriculture is thriving in Marin County. This book highlights 22 businesses, farms and ranches where folks move to the rhythm of the seasons and depend on the bounty of Mother Nature to produce their flavorful and succulent merchandise. Each detailed profile is accompanied by one or more recipes.

Officially listed as a "supporting document" for Marin's Countywide Plan 2006, this gorgeous large-format paperback is about as unbureaucratic a publication as anyone can imagine. With text by Barbara Marino, photographs by Ken Smith, and design and illustration by Susan Bercu, Marin Farm Families presents a visual and written paean to lives lived on the land and the results of their labors, while also providing ways to blend that bounty in one's own exurban kitchen.

Produced by MALT in collaboration with the Marin County Community Development Agency, the book sells for $12 in stores and farmers markets throughout the Bay Area. The Land Trust joins the Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) to host a book-signing party on Saturday, Oct. 7, at 11am at San Francisco's Ferry Building (North Arcade, CUESA's Dacor teaching kitchen; free).

Four of the people featured in the book will be on hand to share their farming stories and sign copies of the publication: Janet Brown of Allstar Organics, David Evans of Marin Sun Farms, David Little of Little Organic Farm and Jill Giacomini Besch of Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company. Elizabeth Ptak, who edited the publication and is also associate director of MALT, will introduce the book and the farmers. For more details, go to or call 415.663.1158, ext. 2.

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