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Talley Vineyards shares family story and recipes in new cookbook

Brian Talley, vintner at Talley Vineyards, has written a cookbook called Our California Table, celebrating his family’s history in the region, his love of cooking and the produce from Talley Farms. Proceeds benefit the Fund for Vineyard and Farm Workers.
Brian Talley, vintner at Talley Vineyards, has written a cookbook called Our California Table, celebrating his family’s history in the region, his love of cooking and the produce from Talley Farms. Proceeds benefit the Fund for Vineyard and Farm Workers. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Food and wine are central to Brian Talley, the third-generation head of Arroyo Grande’s Talley Vineyards and Talley Farms, and he’s brought the two together in a new cookbook benefiting farm workers.

“Our California Table: Celebrating the Seasons with the Talley Family” shares the bounty of the family farm through recipes, personal stories and enticing photographs.

Profits from its sale will go to the Fund for Vineyard and Farm Workers, which Talley and wife Johnine established over a dozen years ago to benefit local agricultural workers and their families.

In addition to 50 recipes, the hardcover book includes stories and photos of the family going back 70 years, the histories of the farm and winery and odes to various wine varietals and vegetables the Talleys grow, with advice on buying, storing and preparing.

“I wanted to share the family’s story and shine a light on the fact that this is a really special place to grow both really good produce and really good wine,” said Brian Talley, an avid cook who has kept a journal of his kitchen forays since the mid-1990s.

The recipes, organized by season and centered around Talley-grown ingredients, are a combination of beloved family traditions, dishes Talley picked up from chef and winemaker friends and ones that the avid cook developed himself.

“Often my motivation was to find the means to use our produce in a way that I find interesting and appetizing but that still preserves its integrity,” Talley writes in the book’s introduction.

The selections emphasize simple preparations that highlight the ingredients. They range from classics such as Santa Maria-style BBQ and Grandma’s apple pie to the more exotic, including shaved beet and squash blossom pizza, pad thai made with spaghetti squash and avocado ice cream.

Talley offers quick, personal introductions for each recipe, accompanied by clear directions and suggestions for pairing wine — though Talley contends any combination of good food, good wine and good company can be called a successful pairing.

Mouth-watering photos from Jeremy Ball showcase colorful, ripe produce and finished dishes prepped and plated by Ember chef Brian Collins.

“I loved the opportunity to tell my family’s story as well as to express what’s really special about our place through the food and wine we produce here,” said Talley, who hopes the books will raise about $25,000 for Fund for Vineyard and Farm Workers.

The fund, which provides grants to nonprofits that assist farm workers in the county, has raised over $600,000 since it began in 2004, according to a news release, with a goal of establishing a $1 million endowment so it can continue in perpetuity.

Sally Buffalo writes about wine, beer and spirits. Reach her at sallybuffalo@gmail.com or on Twitter@sallybuffalo.

You can buy the cookbook for $35 at Talley Vineyards’ tasting room at 3031 Lopez Drive, Arroyo Grande, or online at www.talleyvineyards.com.

Talley Vineyards is celebrating the release at its Spring Fling from 1-4 p.m. March 26, with live music, dishes from the book and book signings. While there, attendees can vote on the new label for Talley’s Mano Tinta wine, which also benefits the Fund for Vineyard and Farm Workers.

Tickets are $46.62 and can be purchased at www.talleyvineyards.com.

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