This week at the farmers market, Alice Waters and 100 salads

10/05/2017

Can one salad showcase all of the food producers at the Point Reyes Farmers market? The planned appearance by Alice Waters, the Bay Area’s local food guru, at a market fundraiser this Saturday has inspired Christian Caiazzo, chef and owner of Osteria Stellina, to give it a shot. One hundred “autumn cobb” salads, which will include Big Mesa and Paradise Valley Farms’ greens, Spring Coyote lamb sausage, Tomales Bay Pastures poached eggs, Brickmaiden croutons, Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam cheese and much more, will be available this Saturday for $15, and all of the proceeds will go to the market. Ms. Waters will also be signing copies of her new memoir, “Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook,” at Toby’s Feed Barn from 10 a.m. to noon. “Her book has been long-awaited,” said Stephen Sparks, the co-owner of Point Reyes Books who was instrumental in hosting Ms. Waters. “Her memoir is really about this lucky woman who had little experience with food but who wanted her own restaurant and how she has managed to recircuit that energy to build something that has worked for over 20 years.” In the preface of the memoir, published this month, Ms. Waters describes her sensual exploration of a farmers market. She wrote: “I’m not necessarily thinking about how the ingredients will go together—I’m just responding to what I’m finding. It’s a lot about aliveness, a lot about color, the smell of things, the look… I’m improvising, trying to capture and express that moment in time. I’m letting my senses lead me.” She added: “It’s how we cook at Chez Panisse. It’s how we’ve always cooked at Chez Panisse.” Mr. Caiazzo, who has owned and operated Stellina for nine years, said Ms. Waters “inspired me to make elevated food from a local food system.” He said it’s essential to help the venue continue as a community gathering place and an outlet for local farmers. Denise Rocco-Zilber, who sits on the market’s steering committee, said the upcoming event has “been an amazing collaboration.” Besides Point Reyes Books, Toby’s Feed Barn and Stellina, Heidrun Meadery is pitching in, sampling their mead alongside Stellina’s salad on Saturday. “The market is expensive to operate and we rely on vendor fees, the support of the community and grants to support us. Fundraisers like this keep us thriving,” Ms. Rocco-Zilber said, explaining that all the revenue generated on Saturday will go toward general operating costs. This is not Ms. Waters’s first guest appearance to benefit the market. She came to Toby’s back in 2010 after publishing her book “In the Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn by Heart” for a conversation and a meal catered by Mr. Caiazzo. Her new memoir goes far beyond the art of cooking, however, showing how her defiant childhood (one photo shows her dressed as a cowboy posing next to her three sisters in dresses), rebellious teenage years and experiences as a student at the University of California, Berkeley in the ’60s and early travels in France ultimately led her to push the limits of how we eat in America.