Edges of Bounty: Adventures in the Edible Valley

Overview

Cultural Writing. Food. Essays. Photography. Photographs by Scott Squire. Foreword by NPR's Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva. Writer William Emery and photographer Scott Squire embarked on an adventure through California's Central Valley in search of a different way of life. They sought the secrets of people engaged in the production of their own food and drink. What is life like for small-time farmers? Can they make a living off of what they produce? Do they enjoy what they do? And most importantly,...

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Overview

Cultural Writing. Food. Essays. Photography. Photographs by Scott Squire. Foreword by NPR's Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva. Writer William Emery and photographer Scott Squire embarked on an adventure through California's Central Valley in search of a different way of life. They sought the secrets of people engaged in the production of their own food and drink. What is life like for small-time farmers? Can they make a living off of what they produce? Do they enjoy what they do? And most importantly, does their food taste any better than what we find in supermarkets? What Emery and Squire discovered was revelatory. In the pages of Edges of Bounty they sample produce that is nothing short of divine. They encounter melons so swollen that they burst open with one knife cut. They are introduced to the sour flavor of cactus pads and the healing bitterness of Mien bitter balls. Emery catches his first fish in twenty years. The beekeepers, cheese makers, butchers, fishermen, dairymen, fruit farmers, and other edibilists—the word Emery coins to describe them—who invited them into their homes take pride in their expertise and in nurturing what farmer Mike Madison at one point calls guerilla agriculture. Thoughtful, quirky, and brimming with the color and anthopological depth of Squire's photography, Edges of Bounty delights us with a back-to-land narrative as fresh and tangy as homemade goat cheese. Emery and Squire come away from the edible valley not just with bushels of produce but with faith in endeavors that are small and local and close to our hearts.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Upon his first taste of an exotic melon ("the flavor was a cathedral and liqueur") from a small farm in California's Great Central Valley, writer Emery came to an epiphany: "we do not eat real food." Inspired, he set out with documentary photographer Squire to uncover the hidden agricultural life of the Great Central (the combined Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys), including biodynamic farmers, beekeepers, self-described "bubbas" and other characters keeping tradition and hard work alive in the face of encroaching factory farming and ever-rising demand for convenience and low prices. Stories of an abandoned roadside kiwi stand, a farmer's devotion to her goats and Portugese festas pack plenty of drama; unfortunately, Emery's text is tragically overwritten and saddled with a tiresome, know-it-all sense of false modesty: "My purpose in these travels is not, however, to be content. I'm looking for an aggregate of knowledge that I might carry with me into another life." Squire's crisp, brilliant photos do a far better job providing a sense of place and time, with insider views of community dinners, life on the farm and profile subjects. Those interested in California farming folklore, "slow food" and similar agricultural movements will find this handsome book illuminating, if overwrought. 90 color photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597141086
  • Publisher: Heyday Books
  • Publication date: 9/15/2008
  • Pages: 228
  • Product dimensions: 7.98 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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