Once Upon a Thyme ....

The Story of The Spirit of the Herbfarm Restaurant by Ron Zimmerman

It was during the late 90s that Ron began writing his book. As a matter of fact, it was almost done. Titled The Herbfarm Menu Cookbook, it was almost ready for print. Ten Speed Press had offered a contract and an advance, but life and business got in the way, so Zimmerman tabled it “for later”.

Sorting through 20-plus years of accumulated notebooks, writing, photographs, and memories as retirement began, Ron rediscovered his work. Having moved on well past the IBM Selectric of his college days that only captured words, Zimmerman went straight from recipe concept to graphically designing every full-color spread using his immense Adobe InDesign skills.

He worked on it from March 2022 until he died earlier this year. Carefully curated recipes would only be part of this book. A great cookbook and memoir of Ron Zimmerman requires thorough descriptions and origins, words that tell a heartfelt story, along with beautiful photography and artwork. To Ron, all these components were needed to tell the story to his liking.

After passing in April 2023, Carrie Van Dyck, his life partner and wife, enlisted a platoon of family, friends, and business associates to carry on the life of The Spirit of the Herbfarm Restaurant, and here is the progress.

Milestones Achieved

184 Full-Color InDesign recipe pages by RZ

40,000 words of the memoir written by RZ

✔✔ Writer/Editor hired to smooth memoir and interconnect both pieces. May and July 2023

Recipe Testing and Editing completed Aug 2023

Contracted with Sky Horse publishing (Simon & Schuster distribution).Signed Aug 2023

Smoothing and Connecting of memoir completed by Labor Day.

Complete Manuscript Submitted to Sky Horse by Sept 10

 In Progress

➞Assemble List of potential customer stores, Independent book stores, Food Stores, gift stores, and their contacts interested in carrying this book.

➞Final Cover Design

➞ Sky Horse Edit and discussion of book order, inserts, etc. 

➞ With Sky Horse decisions of whether or not to include additional photos and commentary

➞Foreword by Sinclair Philip of Sooke Harbour House , BC

➞Frequent updates to blog

➞Status Updates on Facebook and Instagram


To Do

Complete Cover Wrap design

Blurbs from Thomas Keller, Rene Redzepi, and Dan Barber

Indexing--by Sky Horse

Final Editing--November

  Off to Printer from Sky Horse early December

Email to Pre-Publication customers to confirm shipping address in February

  Advance air shipped copies to press late January

  Pre-Publication orders Ready to Ship—March

 In Bookstores and Amazon -May 2024

Back to blog


Honored we got to see the cover prototypes at the Lamb Roast recently! I’m excited to read every word of Ron’s memoir when it comes out. What an amazing person. Always and forever a fan of The Herbfarm and good for you Carrie. Hope there are a few pics of you in the book.

Julie Szmania

I’ve loved everything about the original Herb Farm…loved the original cookbook and devoured it!!! Loved to walk around the farm and gift shop and dreamed of owning a farm like it….. Never got to go to the restaurant because of being a single mom with 2 children. When I remarried and had hopes of eating in the famous restaurant, it burned down!!!!! I was devastated….

Lynne Balderson

Great to see a progress report on what promises to be a wonderful read.

Bob Hise

Wow! Love this update. Thank you.

Mitch Stroum

WOW! Great to hear how it’s going. Takes a lot to bring this to fruition…

EagleSong Gardener

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