SG508: Beth Dooley – Author of Minnesota’s Bounty A Farmers Market Cookbook and featuring Farmers Market Bard Holly Morrison

Minnesota's BountyIn this episode of Still Growing…(SG), I had the amazing opportunity to interview cookbook author and writer, Beth Dooley.  Beth began writing cookbooks with famed Twin Cities chef and restauranteur Lucia Watson.  Seven cookbooks later, Beth is the author of Minnesota’s Bounty: The Farmers Market Cookbook.  The cookbook is beautifully written; part instructional guide, part narrative, with helpful quick ideas and cook’s notes to help beginners.  The photographs by Mette Nielsen are crazy good – vivid and inspiring.  The matte finish gives the entire book an earthy feel and strikes a chord with our food-gathering instincts.  Indeed, Minnesota’s Bounty makes you want to grab your cash and cloth bags and spend some quality time shopping at your local Farmers Market.

I dubbed Beth “The Queen of the Farmers Market” after reading Minnesota’s Bounty. As a genealogist, I loved the historical information on our local Farmers Markets. Beth’s passion for the growers and the purveyors at Farmers Markets shine through the pages.

Don’t miss the extra interview I conduct at the end of the podcast. I was especially excited to chat with Holly Morrison – a Maine farmer, forager, and Scottish/Gaelic language instructor – who sells custom-pecked poems she creates on an old Olympia typewriter for just two dollars a piece. The typewriter and Holly’s creativity fit perfectly alongside her harvest from her farm, Tir na nOg. Holly ends the show with her original poem, an ode to the Farmers Market called, Let the Market Be Your Muse.

If you have a passion for the garden harvest or Farmers Markets, you’ll want to listen to this show.

SG508: Beth Dooley – Author of Minnesota’s Bounty A Farmers Market Cookbook and featuring Farmers Market Bard Holly Morrison 

In this episode, you’ll find out about:

  • Beth’s New Jersey (the Garden State) beginnings and how Beth got her start as a cookbook writer (3:56)

“On my first trip to the Farmers Market, I had one of the proustian moments where I tasted a carrot that tasted like a carrot; like the kind of carrots my grandmother used to serve.  And, that’s when I began to put together the pieces around what makes great flavor.  And, what makes good flavor is where food is grown, how it’s grown, and who grows it.”

-Beth Dooley

  • The many cookbooks Beth has written (6:12)
  • The impact of editor Judith Jones (The Knopf editor who rescued The Diary of Anne Frank from the rejects pile, Julia Child’s editor and the person responsible for ushering all of John Updike’s books into print) on Beth’s first cookbook with Lucia Watson, Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland. (8:08)
  • How Beth’s process for writing cookbooks has evolved (9:23)

“I want the cook to feel really engaged in the process [of cooking]…as though I’m standing next to them, helping them create something.”

– Beth Dooley

  • How to approach the farmer’s market with an open mind (11:27)

“I call it… engaged cooking [cooking with ingredients from the Farmers Market]…you’re responding to the things that are coming in [to the farmer’s market] and that makes it a creative process.”  

– Beth Dooley

  • The genesis of Beth’s cookbook “Minnesota’s Bounty” (11:55)

“Our Farmers Markets are astounding.  We have Farmers Markets like no other state in the country.”

– Beth Dooley

  • The vegetables many of us overlook because we’ve lost the art of gathering food (12:51)
  • The meaning of the word sustainability (16:07)
  • Sustainability and organic certification as a criteria for buying at Farmers Markets (18:40)
  • The Farmers Markets Beth toured as she researched her cookbook (20:52)
  • The rich history of Minnesota Farmers Markets (21:40)
  • How Farmers Markets have changed over the years (23:00)
  • The challenges Farmers Markets face (24:50)
  • The best practices from other parts of the world that could benefit our Farmers Markets (25:51)
  • Beth’s favorite Farmers Market (27:20)
  • Beth’s tips for shopping at Farmers Markets (28:12)
  • Farmers Markets as living calendars (30:25)
  • Beth’s favorite quick ideas from her cookbook (32:03)
  • Incorporating edible flowers into everyday cooking (36:33)
  • The effect recipes have had on cooking (37:13)

“I think people are so locked into recipes that they forget to think for themselves. Whereas recipes should really be guidelines.”

– Beth Dooley

  • Cooking with ginger (39:24)
  • Some of Beth’s favorite recipes from the cookbook (40:00)
  • Beth’s top standard buys at Farmers Markets (41:15)
  • The variety of produce brought by Hmong Farmers to Farmers Markets (42:23)
  • The growing offering of local cheeses at Farmers Markets (44:02)
  • Buying honey at Farmers Markets (45:32)
  • Companion ingredients and pairing flavors (48:00)
  • Oils Beth likes to cook with (49:30)
  • Beth’s tips for cleaning and preparing lettuce (51:32)
  • Creative, educational and recreational activities at Farmers Markets (52:45)
  • How Farmers Markets can play a role in addressing local hunger and health (55:53)
  • Beth’s new project In Winter’s Kitchen for 2015 (57:46)

Special Bonus Interview with Farmer Poet Holly Morrison

  • Introducing Holly Morrison of Tir na nOg Farm in Pownal, Maine (1:00:50)
  • We like to say that our farm is a place where culture and agriculture meet.”

    – Holly Morrison

  • The meaning behind the name Tir na nOg (1:04:57)
  • When sailors didn’t come home in those countries, they’d say ‘oh, he didn’t drown. He just went to Tir na nOg…

    – Holly Morrison

  • The aspect of gardening that Holly is most passionate about (1:07)
  • As I’m working to restore the land, the land is restoring me as well.  It’s very much this process of mutual restoration.” – Holly Morrison
  • WWOOF – Willing Workers On Organic Farms (1:08:50)
  • I’m trying to help people feel like they can have access to art the same way they have access to fresh food.” – Holly Morrison
  • Why Holly reads each poem aloud to her customers (1:10:14)
  • Holly Morrison’s Poem for the Cumberland Farmers Market Association (1:11:45)

Let the Market Be Your Muse


Come and taste the farmers’ art:
Leafy greens and berry blues,
Feast your eyes and feed your heart!


See the colors all arrayed–
Eggplant skies with goat cheese starred;
Wild mushroom cavalcade!


Savory meats—such meals await!
Brush with local herbs and butter:
Put some art upon your plate!

Fragrant soaps, organic flowers,
Fresh-baked bread—and music, live!
Here we are, come sun or showers:
Come and help your hometown thrive!


Healthy treats to chew and choose!
Try it! Then you, too, will holler:
Let the market be your muse!

–Holly S. Morrison, CFMA market bard (Cumberland Farmers’ Market Association)

  • Commission Holly to write a poem for you (1:13:30)
Holly working on another fresh-pecked poem.

Holly working on another fresh-pecked poem.

Items mentioned in this podcast include:

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Question or Feedback? Please leave a comment below and just let me know how you feel. What do you like about the show? What do you dislike? What kinds of things can I improve on? What do you wish there was more of? I also appreciate future guest or topic ideas. Let me know your suggestion in the comment section below. I may feature your comment on the show!

Still growing...

Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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