We’ve been fans of cook and gardener Ellen Ecker Ogden for many years and hold her book The Complete Kitchen Garden near and dear. So when we heard she had a new book, The New Heirloom Garden, we grabbed a chance to take a look. Well, a “look” will hardly do with this generous (and by the way, gorgeous) book.

Divided into three sections (Step By Step: Elements for a Successful Design; Heirloom Garden Designs; and Digging Deeper with Plant Families and Recipes), there is something delightful here for every cook and gardener. You might say, why heirlooms? Well, as Ellen writes, "The best tasting vegetables are heirlooms; the most fragrant flowers are heirlooms."

Read on for a preview of the book, a sample garden design, and a recipe for Arugula, Caramelized Pear, and Toasted Walnut Salad.


In The Cook and The Book, an ongoing series brought to you by Cook the Vineyard, we put the spotlight on cookbook authors we love by taking a look at their latest book.



Ellen Ecker Ogden


Ellen Ecker Ogden was a co-founder of The Cook’s Garden, which began as a market garden and farm stand in southern Vermont and became a go-to seed source for discerning gardeners for twenty years.

With her art background (a degree in fine arts and studio arts) and pursuit of cooking (including studying with Marcella Hazan at the Marcella Hazan School of Classic Italian Cooking in Venice, Italy, and Darina Allen at the Ballymaloe School of Cookery in Shanagary, Ireland), it was natural for Ellen to segue into writing books (see below) and magazine articles that appealed to both cooks and gardeners, as well as lovers of good design.

In addition to writing for multiple publications, ranging from Garden Design to Better Homes and Gardens, and appearing on PBS Victory Garden and HGTV’s Garden Smarts, Ellen has given gardening lectures at a wide range of horticultural symposiums and continues to speak online as well as teach her own gardening classes online this year.  

Follow Ellen on Instagram @ogdenellen

Follow Ellen on Facebook

Visit ellenogden.com


The New Heirloom Garden: Designs, Recipes, and Heirloom Plants For Cooks Who Love to Garden

Rodale Books, February 2021
256 pp.


What We Love Most about The New Heirloom Garden


  • The garden designs — Twelve illustrated garden designs, including The Ark of Taste Garden, The French Heirloom Garden, The Shaker Garden, and The Color Wheel Garden, include plant keys with specific heirloom variety recommendations as well as a list of design tips for each.
  • The recipes, arranged by family —This unique organization helps us get to know our veggies better. Did you know that asparagus and leeks were both in the Lily (Liliaceae) family? That carrots, celeriac, celery, cilantro, dill, lovage, parsley, and parsnips are all umbellifers (members of the Umbelliferae family, which all have umbrella-shaped flowers)?
  • The interviews with experts — Sidebar interviews with seed experts are illuminating
  • The step-by-step planning advice — the first section is devoted to building our confidence about how to design and implement an heirloom garden.
  • The gorgeous photos by Matthew Benson are rich and evocative, and the mix of garden, ingredient, and food photography is captivating.


Copyright Matthew Benson for The New Heirloom Garden


On Cook the Vineyard:
Arugula, Caramelized Pear, and Toasted Walnut Salad

Other recipes in the book that we love:
• Fennel and Watermelon Salad
• Cardoon Gratin
• Golden Tomato Gazpacho
• Baked Beans with Maple and Molasses
• Summer Cobbler
• Borlotto Bean and Farro Salad





1     Introduction
2     Step by Step: Elements for a Successful Design
3     Heirloom Garden Designs
4     Digging Deeper with Plant Families and Recipes




Whenever possible, it's always a good idea to purchase your cookbooks through an independent bookstore, like our local Bunch of Grapes bookstore in Vineyard Haven. Independent bookstores can always order a book for you if they don’t currently have it. If you need to find out where your nearest independent bookstore is, check out IndieBound.org’s Bookstore Finder.

The New Heirloom Garden is also available online from:

Barnes and Noble



The Vermont Country Store Cookbook (Grand Central 2014) 
The Complete Kitchen Garden (Stewart, Tabori and Chang 2011) 
The Vermont Cheese Book (Countryman 2007)
From the Cook's Garden (HarperCollins 2003)


A Sample Design

The Ark of Taste Garden

The “Ark of Taste” is a list of endangered varieties and species put together by Slow Food USA. In this garden, Ellen highlights heirloom and open-pollinated varieties that are no longer grown in modern large-scale agriculture.

Ellen Ogden for The New Heirloom Garden