Introduction to Farmer’s Market Cooking

farmerscover    Many of us have lost the sense of where we are in the world, our connection to it and to each other. We buy our milk in plastic jugs at the corner store, we load up on fruits and vegetables at the supermarket without giving a second thought to where they came from or how they were grown, we feed ourselves and our children over-processed foods loaded with unnecessary and often harmful ingredients. We are quickly becoming an alienated society with an ever-decreasing sense of community — and that is something that we need. As we grow closer to becoming just another bit of code on a microchip, it is important that we reinvent the idea of community. One of the small but good and true ways to start doing this is to buy your food at your local farmer’s market.

If there is a market in your neighborhood, you may have been thinking about going but haven’t yet got around to it. Or you may not know if you have one where you live, but would like to find out. You might even feel a little intimidated shopping directly from the farmers at their stands.

This book will guide you through (or to) your local farmers’ market and show you how to avail yourself of the wonderful things you’ll find there. It will tell you how to choose your produce and when to start looking for seasonal fruits and vegetables — the first juicy peach of summer, the first tender spring asparagus. It will give you questions to ask the growers about what they do, and introduce you to some of the people who are the farmers’ markets.

My Résumé & Experience

Sally Ann Berk
Oakland, California

Areas of Expertise
– Content Writing and Editing
– Research and Reporting of original and relatable stories
– Business development plans
– Marketing plans along with advertising copy and collateral development – catalogs, brochures, and direct mail pieces
– Social Media
– Corporate communications strategies
– Quick reaction, quick turnaround projects with high visibility
– San Francisco Bay Area Transportation and Transit agencies; freeways and transit systems

Highlights and Successes
– Wrote 12+ non-fiction books — positive reviews — 36 million copies sold worldwide; available in several languages. Titles include: The New York Bartender’s Guide, The Big Little Book of Jewish Wit & Wisdom, and The Martini Book. The Farmers Market Guide and Cookbook  was recognized by Mothers and Others as one of the best food books for families.
– Developed and implemented nation-wide marketing plans for over 100 books, representing popular authors such as Maurice Sendak, Martha Stewart, Jean Auel, and Robert Fulghum.
– Designed, created and produced well-received documents for a variety of purposes, from reports and proposals to press kits and newsletters, email blasts and social media.
– Analyzed police reports 24/7 in the San Francisco Bay area to immediately synthesize and post short, informative alerts on commuter website. Wrote incident reports and created special site for posting. Mastered customized software applications and multiple social media sites with no training or ramp-up time.
– Provided attentive client service and sales at the retail level with positive feedback from both store managers and customers.
– Led and participated in fundraising campaigns to raise millions of dollars.

Partial List of Publications

Columnist (2014). Oakland Local. Oakland, CA:
Author (2012). The Martini Book: 201 Ways to Mix the Perfect American Cocktail. New York, NY: Black Dog & Leventhal.
Author (1996, 2010). The Naturalist’s Herb Guide: How to Find, Select, Grow, Apply, Dry, Brew, and Cook with Nearly 300 Herbs. New York, NY: Black Dog & Leventhal
Author (1994, 2006, 2009). The New York Bartender’s Guide: 1300 Drink Recipes for the Home and Bar. New York, NY: Black Dog & Leventhal.                                                           Editor-in-Chief (2002 to 2009). The Omer monthly magazine. Oakland, CA: Temple Beth Abraham.
Author (2004). Deluxe Smoothies, Shakes, and Sparklers. New York, NY: Black Dog & Leventhal.
Author (2000). The Big Little Book of Jewish Wit and Wisdom. New York NY: Black Dog & Leventhal.
Co-Author with T. Tumbusch (2000). Tomart’s Encyclopedia of Action Figures, The 1001 Most Popular Collectibles of All Time. New York, NY: Black Dog & Leventhal.
Author (1996). The Farmer’s Market Guide and Cookbook/Farmers Market Cooking. New York, NY: Black Dog & Leventhal.
Co-Author with J. G. Wakeman (1996). A Reasonable Affliction: 1001 Love Poems to Read to Each Other. New York, NY: Black Dog & Leventhal.
Author (1994). How Smart You? Test Your Country Music IQ. New York, NY: Black Dog & Leventhal.
Contributor (1991). Publishers Weekly. New York, NY: Reed International (Cahners).

Work History
– Self-Employed, Writer/Editor/Researcher, Oakland, CA, 1990 to present Group, Operator/Data Specialist, Oakland, CA, October 2007 to June 2016
– Armin Brott (, Producer/Researcher, Oakland, CA, May 2006 to May 2007
– Restoration Hardware, Sales and Customer Service, Berkeley, CA, October 2006 to September 2007
– CompuServe, Community Manager, Systems Operator, Remote, 1995 to 1999
– Captain Mike’s Holy Smoked Salmon, Sales and Marketing, San Francisco, CA
– Random House, Villard Books, Publicity Director, New York, NY, and Los Angeles
– Crown Publishers, Publicity Department, Associate Director, New York, NY

AB, English, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA
English Studies in scholastic partnership with Haverford College, Haverford, PA
French Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Community Service
Oakland Unified School District, Volunteer, Oakland, CA, August 2015 to present. Prepared classrooms for first day of school
Temple Beth Abraham, Director, Oakland, CA, June 2002 to June 2009. Led policies and rules development; managed member programs; produced special events, launched publicity and marketing campaigns, reached out to new members; raised millions for capital campaign.
Hadassah, Board of Directors, January 2001 to January 2003
Planned Parenthood, Fundraiser, Los Angeles, CA, 1990 to 1991

References available upon request

Confessions of an Illiterate, Part Two

Not reading books has changed me. Once a championship speller, my speling is now terribole. My grammar has deteriorated. Sometimes I’ll mumble a word if I’m not sure about it, or recast a sentence in a different tense. That used to be one of my favorite things to do with words, only now, well, I’m not so sure my new sentence would be correct.

But grammar and spelling are mechanics. Not reading books has cut me off from Book people. I miss talking about books. I miss browsing in bookstores. Hanging out in libraries. Meeting the author. The world of books was always my home. I feel diminished. I feel cast out.

What I’ve learned from all of this is that reading has profound, positive effects on us. This isn’t news, of course, but it’s been a strangely reaffirming experience, seeing the truths about reading proven true firsthand. When you stop for a while, things start to fade away and the world seems a lot more ordinary, the mind, less sharp. Perhaps more than anything, I miss my escape.


Some of you have suggested I try Books on Tape. It’s a good idea. It feels a little too passive for me, but I’m giving it a try with Go Set A Watchman.


Next time I’ll talk about what I do read.

Confessions of an Illiterate

As a result of medication, depression, ennui, or all-of-the-above, I haven’t read a book in about eight years. I read the Harry Potter books, Twilight, ten pages of Fifty Shades of Grey, and The Road. Other than that, I have not read a fucking thing.

I didn’t decide to stop reading books. I loved reading. Even when I work full-time, I read at least two or three books a week. Since I was small, books have been my refuge and my delight. etc. You know the drill. In the my more recent years of what I call “bad reality,” I think books did save my life. A lot.

I stopped reading because I had a Seizure. Medication-related, I’m convinced. I was in my backyard. I was on the ground. I was in the  ER. No diagnosis. After that I took to my bed for six weeks and watched every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on videotape. My personal collection. When I finally emerged, the printed word no longer interested me.

Not just books. Newspapers, magazines, The New Yorker, Yes. The New Yorker..

Not-reading taught me a lot.

I’ll get to that.

Good Bye, Doctor Lu

My wonderful, funny, and brilliant doctor, Susan Lu, is leaving her practice for the lure of Kaiser. I was her patient for at least fifteen years. In that time she saved my life many times, mostly figuratively. In the mail today, came the results of my most recent labs with her. On the bottom of the page, she wrote “don’t stop trying.” I will miss her.


On Thursday, I was Rolfed. 

I’d always wanted to be Rolfed. It was almost a bucket list item for me.  When I found a Groupon that offered Rolfing in Oakland for 70% off regularly priced Rolfs, I jumped on it. 

I’ve had back & shoulder issues for decades. Years ago, shiatsu was my de stressor of choice   Over time, I realized I needed something more intense, more physically manipulative. Rolfing, with its extreme pressure on muscles & tissue, sounded just right.  You know what? It was. 

Jed Bentley’s studio shares space with Oakland Floats, a flotation tank facility. It was eerily quiet in the reception area. All I could think of was William Hurt in “Altered States.” I hoped no one was de-evolving in their tank. While I wondered what I would do if a proto-human burst out of a tank, my Rolfer, Jed Bentley, arrived.

Jed explained that what he does is release energy. Each light or intensely hard push against a muscle or connective tissue releases energy. That allows the shoulders, for example, to return to their original form. Rolfing was easy to understand but hard to explain. 

Jed worked on me for an hour. He has great body intuition and strong hands. Some of my pressure points hurt like hell when he pushed on them. It felt so good when he stopped. 

Afterwards, I felt surprisingly energetic.  Jed explained that was the energy being released. If Jed didn’t charge 150, per session, I’d go once a week.


Happy Purim: My Basket

I received my first Purim basket as a “single” person this week. Rather than fall into “woe-is-me” mode, I focused on the fact that for the first time in 16 years, I didn’t have to share the bag of goodies. I could  have the tangerine and the Clif Bar. This year there was a package of Red Vines and you know what? I could keep that, too. I felt a little selfish, thinking along those lines. The initial shock of receiving the basket in the first place could have plunged me into a depression, but I didn’t let it. I forced myself to feel better by focusing on the basket. So I think sometimes it’s okay to be a little selfish.

Queen Esther & Stupendous Man, 2003

RIP Lloyd Fonvielle 1950-2015

Uncouth Reflections

Blowhard, Esq. writes:


Lloyd Fonvielle — writer, artist, friend to many of us here, our 5th Beatle — died earlier this week at his home in Las Vegas. His creativity, humor, intelligence, and generosity will be missed.

I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, From henceforth blessed are the dead which die in the Lord: Even so, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labours.

Lord, have mercy upon us. Christ, have mercy upon us.

— The Book of Common Prayer

View original post