Seasonally inspired food, with more than 130 recipes from the chef, farmer, and star of The Biggest Little Farm.
More than ten years ago, chef Molly Chester and her filmmaker husband left their urban L.A. life to purchase a neglected piece of land northwest of the city in the hopes of creating a more delicious and purposeful life. With a passion for regenerative, biodynamic farming, but a big learning curve to overcome, they threw themselves into the daunting task of revitalizing the land, which had been decimated by drought and pesticides. Today, they steward 234 thriving acres of gardens, animal pastures, habitat corridors, and orchards, including their abundant “Fruit Basket”—a lush tapestry of landscape that provides seventy-five different varieties of fruit trees. Chester and her husband’s gentle, slow, and unconventional approach has inspired other farmers, and was the subject of the 2019 award-winning documentary The Biggest Little Farm.
This debut cookbook brings the bounty of the farm to readers’ kitchens. As a chef who has long understood that flavor and healthy food go hand in hand, Chester is passionate about farm-fresh ingredients, and her cooking celebrates the tree-ripened fruits, seasonal vegetables, pastured eggs, and grass-fed meats for which the farm is known. With sections divided by season, and insider tips for sourcing the best produce, this a must-have cookbook for home cooks looking for inspiration for their farmers’ market hauls, and anyone looking to create a closer connection to their food. With enticing, preserved end-of-summer larder treasures like Tomato Raisins or a Dried Summer Stone Fruit Medley, comforting dinners like Slow-Roasted Pastured Chicken with Lemon-Fennel Crust or Spring Frittata with Fresh Peas, Arugula, Artichokes, Chevre, and Pesto, and bright, luscious salads like Avocado and Cara Cara Orange Salad with Jalapeño and Sesame-Miso Dressing, these nourishing recipes are a delicious guide to eating in connection with the land.
About the Author
Molly Chester is a co-founder and farmer of Apricot Lane Farms, a 234-acre biodynamic farming project in Moorpark, CA. Prior to farming, Molly was a private chef in Los Angeles who specialized in healing the gut through nutrient-dense culinary techniques such as soaking, sprouting and fermenting. Molly believes that a delicious and healing dish is created in harmony with the rhythms of the local ecosystem. She lives on the farm with her husband John, son Beaudie, dog Blue, and a menagerie of farm animals and wildlife. Molly’s story can be seen in the award-winning documentary, The Biggest Little Farm.
"Apricot Lane Farm is not just a bucolic oasis. It is a generator of brilliant ideas, guided by Molly and John. This book is a blueprint on how we can nourish ourselves in a harried world. Follow the recipes, read intently, and cook yourself into a better you." –Hugh Acheson, chef and author of A New Turn in the South
“It’s impossible to leave a visit to Apricot Lane Farms and not be affected by Molly and John’s infectious audacity, deep commitment to the stewardship of their land, and quality of their teeming harvest. It made my return to East Coast city life feel somewhat lackluster. But now, with The Apricot Lane Farms Cookbook, my pastoral-inspired kitchen daydreams can run amuck! Molly’s simple, sumptuous recipes will lure you in and inspire you to cook with a new rhythm, guided by the seasons and nature’s abundance. Every dish, every lesson and story, sprinkled with a pinch of their farm’s fairy dust, ensuring the magic of this special place can be relished by all of us, no matter where we call home.” –Gail Simmons, food expert, TV host, and author of Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating
“As someone who eats to live due to an autoimmune disease, and lives to eat from sheer respect and adoration of beautiful food in its truest real form, Molly’s healing recipes speak my language and give me so much joy. The vibrant colors burst off the page, and the love that has been poured into not just the recipes, but the growth and care of the ingredients going into them is so prevalent. This book is going to become a companion to any home cook that appreciates food, but wants to nourish their families bodies while preparing stunning meals.” –Danielle Walker, New York Times bestselling author of the Against all Grain cookbook series
“The Apricot Lane Farms Cookbook is equal to Molly and John’s farm in every way. For those who have a deep appetite for the blessings of the earth, it is a culinary masterpiece. The extraordinary diversity of Biggest Little Farm comes to life in the recipes, tips, taste, techniques, and teachings. You want to eat what’s on every page. Regeneration puts life at the center of every act and decision. This is what regeneration looks and tastes like, and it is extraordinary.” –Paul Hawken, author of Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation
“There is no better guide to seasonal, organic, healthy eating than Apricot Lane Farm's Molly Chester. This cookbook is a glorious inspiration and is sure to become a dogeared favorite in your kitchen. It is a gift to us all.” –Laurie David, author of The Family Dinner and producer of An Inconvenient Truth
“If you ever wondered what deeply embracing farm-scape stewardship looks like on your dinner plate, this fabulous book has the answer.” –Joel Salatin, sustainable farming educator and owner of Polyface Farm
“The Apricot Lane Farms Cookbook is a must for foodies and cooks. Learn the basics such as nourishing stocks and lacto-fermented foods, or indulge in delights like rosti cakes and peach barbecue sauce from this beautifully illustrated tribute to fine food and natural farming.” –Sally Fallon Morell, president of The Weston A. Price Foundation and author of Nourishing Traditions