Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land

Overview

"Charming . . . . [Kurt Timmermeister] narrates his personal journey with an open, straightforward spirit." —Wall Street Journal
When he purchased four acres of land on Vashon Island, Kurt Timmermeister was only looking for an affordable home near the restaurants he ran in Seattle. But as he slowly settled into his new property, he became awakened to the connection between what he ate and where it came from: a hive of bees provided honey, a young cow could give fresh milk, an apple orchard allowed him to make ...

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Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land

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Overview

"Charming . . . . [Kurt Timmermeister] narrates his personal journey with an open, straightforward spirit." —Wall Street Journal
When he purchased four acres of land on Vashon Island, Kurt Timmermeister was only looking for an affordable home near the restaurants he ran in Seattle. But as he slowly settled into his new property, he became awakened to the connection between what he ate and where it came from: a hive of bees provided honey, a young cow could give fresh milk, an apple orchard allowed him to make vinegar. With refreshing honesty, Timmermeister details the initial stumbles and subsequent realities he faced as he established a profitable farm for himself. Personal yet practical, Growing a Farmer will entirely recast the way we think about our relationship to the food we consume.

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Editorial Reviews

Food & Wine
“Half memoir, half farm guide, Kurt Timmermeister's book is perfect for anyone with agrarian fantasies.”
Los Angeles Times
“What sets this book apart is its practical, calm, confidence-inspiring tone. The message is: Farming may not be easy, but just do it.”
Library Journal
Former Seattle chef Timmermeister shares how he turned a neglected, bramble-covered property into Kurtwood Farms, a 13-acre farm specializing in cheese production and weekly farm-to-table dinners. Timmermeister begins his enterprise with little farming know-how. As he cultivates his agrarian education (often through trial and error), he reflects on self-sufficiency, sustainability, and the industrialization of food production. While narrating over two decades of the farm's history, he describes such tasks as installing bees in a new hive, making apple cider, buying livestock, and slaughtering a pig. Timmermeister also provides a helpful annotated list of supplementary titles for readers interested in the practice of sustainable local agriculture. VERDICT The growing popularity of farm-to-table movements has precipitated numerous books on city dwellers turned farmers. Part memoir, part manual, this refreshingly candid account doesn't oversell its author or a political message. An essential read for anyone who's seriously considered quitting a day job to pursue farming or cheese production.—Lisa Campbell, Univ. of Alabama Lib., Tuscaloosa
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393341294
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/30/2012
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 637,279
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Kurt Timmermeister was a successful restaurateur in Seattle before buying farmland on Vashon Island in 1991. Originally four acres, Kurtwood Farms is now a thirteen-acre dairy farm specializing in farmstead cheese.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 11

Before the Farm 13

Growing the Farm 24

Bees 52

Fruit, Apples, Vinegar 74

Sheep, Goats, Pastures and Grazing 87

Cows 98

Dairying 136

Raw Milk 156

Vegetables 177

Fowl 190

Pigs 211

The Slaughter 234

Butchering 257

The Present-Day Farm 274

The Table 286

Acknowledgments 311

Glossary 313

The Farm Bookshelf 321

Index 327

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    I very much enjoyed this book, although as a vegan I skipped the

    I very much enjoyed this book, although as a vegan I skipped the chapters on slaughtering and butchering. I liked the clarity, explanations of small-farm problem-solving, and general tone. His narrative arc documents years of adaptations and stubborn efforts to find a way to earn a living off his 14 acres by full-time farming, and the final chapter describes his current farm plan and the satisfactions of living it. As Puget Sound gardener with a little acreage I learned a few things for my own efforts, although I do not intend to sell my products I do wonder if he discarded vegetable/fruit production for sales too early in his career, but appreciate the discussion of the shorter growing season here.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2011

    Great idea, poor execution

    Let me preface this review with the fact that I read this book immediately after reading The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball. My experience with Growing a Farmer was certainly affected by this. That being said, this was a poorly constructed book. The ideas presented were interesting, but they were presented in such a flat and lifeless narrative that I had trouble getting through the whole book. You'd expect a book like this to come across as passionate and heartfelt, but this was simply a collection of chapters bound together by an impersonal narrative. I really wanted to like this book. I feel like a good editor could have turned this into a good (maybe even great) book, but everything just seemed to fall short. Perhaps my expectations were a bit too high, but a second round of editing could have done wonders for this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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