Recommended Summer Reading for Farmers Market Book Worms

We turn to Douglas Westgate, one of our long-term Tuesday market volunteers, for all sorts of things, including new recipe ideas and summer reading recommendations. When he's not manning the market Welcome Tent or charming shoppers with his English accent and encyclopedic knowledge of what to do with any given item purchased at our markets, Douglas works at Octavia Books. We recently asked Douglas if he'd pull together a summer reading list for farmers market book worms. Here are his recommendations for books about gardening and vegetable production, commentary and food memoirs, and cookbooks:



My Empire of Dirt: How one man turned his big city backyard into a farm, Manny Howard

Made from Scratch: Discovering the pleasure of a hand made life, Jenna Woginrich

Coop: A family, a farm and the pursuit of one good egg, Michael Perry

One Magic Square: How to garden in small spaces, Lolo Houbein

Starter Vegetable Gardens, Barbara Pleasant

The Backyard Homestead, Carleen Madigan

Louisiana Fruit and Vegetable Book, Rushing and Reeves

Gardening in Louisiana, Dan Gill

Louisiana Gardening Guide, Dan Gill


The Art of Eating, M. F.K. Fisher
Five books by one of America’s first food writers, still good reading today

The Food of a Younger Land, Mark Kurlansky
Taken from a never completed New Deal Project, a fascinating look at food in the USA in the 1930s. Mark Kurlansky has also written histories of salt, oysters and cod - all well worth reading.

Like is Meals, James and Kay Salter
Interesting food facts, history, commentary and recipes written in diary form

Hungry Town, Tom Fitzmorris
A culinary history of New Orleans with emphasis on the role restaurants played in leading the recovery after Katrina

Everyday Drinking, Kingsley Amis
Not that we need much encouragement in New Orleans, but worth reading anyway



Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook, Poppy Tooker
Great recipes and interesting anecdotes about vendors, past and present

Classic Zucchini Cookbook, Ralston
Good recipes for using up all that summer squash that you grow or your neighbors insist on giving you

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Market Umbrella


Market Umbrella is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3), based in New Orleans, whose mission is to cultivate the field of public markets for public good. Market Umbrella has operated the Crescent City Farmers Markets (CCFM) since 1995.

Crescent City Farmers Market


The Crescent City Farmers Market operates weekly year-round in four New Orleans neighborhoods. The CCFM hosts nearly 80 local small farmers, fishers and food producers, and more than 100,000 shoppers annually.