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Just In: Growing A Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land

Tuesdays are major release days, so we’ll be posting about significant releases we’re putting out on the shelves those days.

Growing a Farmer

How I Learned to Live Off the Land

With the new year just starting, shipments are delayed, so we’re rather pleased to be able to present Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land, a memoir by Kurt Timmermeister. None other than locavore champion Alice Waters blurbs the book, calling it “honest” and “eloquent.”

Now, it may seem strange to bring out a book on sustainable farming in January, but then our many patrons who aspire to even an urban garden will be using these frosty months to seek inspiration from those who have gone before.  I brought it in not because I had read it, but because among the books of its type  it is drawing unmitigated praise. I’ll share a bit of that with you and then and excerpt, if you don’t mind.

“Anyone interested in where real food comes from will love this book. I was charmed by Kurt Timmermeister’s story of becoming a farmer and found myself fascinated as he describes how he learned to install bees in a hive, establish an orchard, milk cows, and make cheese, and that slaughtering chickens is no party.” – Jerry Traunfeld, chef/owner of Poppy and author of The Herbfarm Cookbook.

“All farmers will nod knowingly at Timmermeister’s exploits, and soon-to-be farmers should take notes as they read this satisfying memoir.” – Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer.

“Kurt Timmermeister created his life as a farmer from scratch – a grand improvisation. Growing a Farmer journals his struggles with the uncertain forces of nature, his happy discoveries in food production, and his quest to improve the land to which he has committed himself.” – Paul Bertolli, founder of Fra’ Mani Handcrafted Salumi.

If you’ve sampled our books on craft cheeses, urban farming, American craft beer, or even memoirs like Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I think you’re going to like this one. Here’s a random excerpt:

“Growing vegetables has taught me a lot about farming. And a lot about myself. When I brought Matt on, the farm was a simple hobby farm, though I was loath to admit it. I grew some tasty food, but it wasn’t a business. With Matt’s help I pushed this farm from a hobby to a business. A failing business, but a business nonetheless. That first season quickly turned me against growing vegetables under plastic. I didn’t want to join the race to grow the earliest tomato for the farmers’ market. In my view, rushing to market came at a great expense, both financially and also to my sense of what was right. I just didn’t like all the plastic.

“I enjoyed the simple act of putting a seed in the ground and watching it germinate and grow until it could be harvested. It was pure and good, and the end result was an exceptional vegetable. I couldn’t give that up.

” As I had boxes of seeds left over from the vegetable enterprise, and had gained a decent amount of knowledge, plus the fields were set up – tilled, amended and fenced – I continued to grow vegetables, but on a smaller scale. I wish that I could say that this was a sudden epiphany, that one day I woke up and reduced the scale of this vegetable farm. Rather, I slowly came to my senses. The year after Matt left, I still grew vegetables for the farmers’ market, but stopped running a CSA. I still grew tomato starts, more than I needed for my farm, but…”

All I can say is if you want to read Growing a Farmer this weekend, you may have to fight with me and my wife over it.

Growing a Farmer
Kurt Timmermeister
W.W. Norton & Company
9780393070859 (Hardcover)

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