s
s
Sections
Sections
Subscribe
You've read 5 of 15 free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
You've read 10 of 15 free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
You've read all of your free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
We've got a special deal for readers like you.
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app starting 99 cents per month and support local journalism.
Already a subscriber?
Thanks for reading! Why not subscribe?
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app starting 99 cents per month and support local journalism.
Already a subscriber?
Want to keep reading? Subscribe today!
Ooops! You're out of free articles. Starting at just 99 cents per month, you can keep reading all of our products and support local journalism.
Already a subscriber?

Several of the guest authors appearing at the Sonoma County Book Festival this Saturday have mined California's rich tradition of food and drink in order to create some tasty non-fiction.

Among these are Hank Shaw of Sacramento, author of the cutting-edge cookbook "Hunt, Gather, Cook," aimed at culinary adventurers with a rifle in one hand and a sausage attachment in the other.

Then there's Ken Weaver of Santa Rosa, an amateur hophead whose new book, "The Northern California Craft Beer Guide," whisks readers off to some of the best craft breweries in the land.

We talked to both writers in an effort to provide a taste of the literary feast to come this weekend.

Shaw, who will speak at

1 p.m. at Corrick's store, grew up picking beach plums and digging clams every summer on Block Island, just south of Rhode Island's coast.

"I've been foraging and fishing since I could walk," Shaw said. "It's part of our family's culture."

A journalist for 18 years, Shaw learned to hunt while working as a reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. In 2007, he started a blog called Hunter Angler Gardener Cook (honest-food.net), which was nominated for a James Beard award.

The blog landed him a deal for his first cookbook, "Hunt, Gather, Cook," published in 2011 by Rodale. The cookbook is now in its third printing and is coming out in paperback next month.

"I have a very big readership in California," he said. "All I have to do here is to drive two hours, and I can get into some really interesting habitats."

Here in Sonoma County, Shaw offers seaside foraging courses that help adventurers identify wild edibles such as fennel, New Zealand spinach, wild roses, blackberries, edible seaweeds and huckleberries.

"Wild huckleberries are ripe right now," he said. "The evergreen huckleberry looks a little bit like a boxwood ... they are cousins of blueberries."

If you like to fish, the albacore are running off the coast, and lingcod have been biting, he reports. In the winter, you can find mussels and dig for clams with a license, but be prepared to work for the clams.

"They can be a foot and a half down," he said.

For those who just want to get started on foraging, Shaw said the best place to start is your own back yard.

"That is the gateway to the greater knowledge of the greater world," he said. "You'd be surprised to know what edibles live in the corners of your property."

But it's important to get a guidebook, take a class and do your homework, so you can be 100 percent sure of what you're eating.

Now devoted full-time to foraging and writing, Shaw has a second cookbook on duck and geese due out next fall from Ten Speed Press.

On Saturday, Shaw will talk about the recent phenomenon of authors who leverage their blogs into books.

"It's becoming less of a novelty and more of a requirement," he said. "Publishers are looking for people who already have an audience to sell a book to."

Ken Weaver of Santa Rosa, speaking at 3:15 p.m. Saturday at La Rosa Tequileria and Grille, received a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Maryland, but he first got into beer while getting his master of science degree in physics from Cornell University.

"The sciences and beer tend to go together pretty well," said Weaver, who met his wife, photographer Anneliese Schmidt, at Cornell. "We certainly drank a lot of beer in grad school."

Weaver has traveled across the country drinking beer and grew more familiar with brew culture after writing for ratebeer.com, a large beer website.

When Chris Gruener of Cameron & Co. publishing house in Petaluma asked him to write a guide to Northern California craft beer — with photographs by his wife — he knew it was a good fit.

"We already knew the lay of the land, from the enthusiast and from the beer geek side," he said. "We took his idea and made it into a viable book."

Historically, Northern California has been ground zero for the evolution of the modern craft brewery.

"The argument can be made that this is where the craft beer movement started," he said. "You have Anchor Brewing Co., bought out by Fritz Maytag in 1965. Then you had New Albion, the first modern microbrewery since Prohibition, which opened in Sonoma (in 1976)."

Here in the North Bay, he said, you can't throw a dart without hitting a successful brewery, from Bear Republic in Healdsburg and Lagunitas in Petaluma to Russian River Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa.

"Here in Northern California, we've been doing this awhile, so it's a more calm, confident and subdued scene," he said. "There's so much good beer here that it's hard to choose."

You can reach Staff Writer Diane Peterson at 521-5287 or diane.peterson@ pressdemocrat.com.