It’s impressive enough that a book about a farm on Martha’s Vineyard published by a small, local publisher already has more than 12,000 copies in print. And with Michelle Obama—who inspired countless Americans when she planted a vegetable garden at the White House this spring and already owns a copy of the book—heading to the Vineyard with the President and their daughters later this month, the farm behind the book is poised for national visibility.
Vineyard Stories editor and publisher Jan Pogue is getting ready for a surge in interest in the already popular Morning Glory Farm: And the Family That Feeds an Island by Tom Dunlop, photos by Alison Shaw. The book, about the Athearn family’s Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown, Mass., features 70 recipes organized by season. With its emphasis on seasonal ingredients and simple, homey dishes like Maple-Glazed Carrots and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, the book touches on some of the biggest trends in cookbook publishing today. Jim and Debbie Athearn founded Morning Glory 30 years ago. “They were sustainable before there was sustainable,” says Pogue.
Pogue and her husband, now deceased, started Vineyard Stories in 2005 after retiring from their journalism careers at USA Today and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Pogue says she looks to publish high-quality, interesting books; “Vineyard books that have a little bit more going for them than the Vineyard.” Previous titles from the press have included a coffee table book about a luxury inn on the Vineyard, and a collection of columns by a local established writer.
Pogue worked quickly to find a writer and photographer for Morning Glory, and within 10 months (including four months for printing in China), she had finished books. The $24.95 paperback went into stores May 15 and the farm started selling it May 21. “It has boomed,” she says. “It hit us really hard, so fast that I ordered a second reprint.” She is having a portion of that second printing air-shipped in the hopes that she will not be caught out of stock. Total in print so far is 12,000 copies.
Local newspapers have covered Morning Glory Farm, as has the Boston Globe, and the New England Independent Booksellers’ Association featured it in a mailing to members. A June 24 signing at the Globe Corner Bookstore in Cambridge, Mass., drew about 75 people. The book is starting to draw national attention, too: Pogue recently received an order from an individual in California for six copies. “From the beginning I didn’t think this was so much a niche book. I’m a member of the Slow Food movement, and I know the interest this kind of cooking and this kind of story has all over the country,” said Pogue. Here’s hoping.
This story originally appeared inCooking the Books, PW’s e-newsletter for cookbooks.