In a Pickle: A Family Farm Story

In a Pickle: A Family Farm Story

4.5 2
by Jerry Apps
     
 

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The year is 1955. Andy Meyer, a young farmer, manages the pickle factory in Link Lake, a rural town where the farms are small, the conversation is meandering, and the feeling is distinctly Midwestern. Workers sort, weigh, and dump cucumbers into huge vats where the pickles cure, providing a livelihood to local farmers. But the H. H. Harlow Pickle Company has

Overview

The year is 1955. Andy Meyer, a young farmer, manages the pickle factory in Link Lake, a rural town where the farms are small, the conversation is meandering, and the feeling is distinctly Midwestern. Workers sort, weigh, and dump cucumbers into huge vats where the pickles cure, providing a livelihood to local farmers. But the H. H. Harlow Pickle Company has appeared in town, using heavy-handed tactics to force family farmers to either farm the Harlow way or lose their biggest customer—and, possibly, their land. Andy, himself the owner of a half-acre pickle patch, works part-time for the Harlow Company, a conflict that places him between the family farm and the big corporation. As he sees how Harlow begins to change the rural community and the lives of its people, Andy must make personal, ethical, and life-changing decisions.
 
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Outstanding Book, selected by the Public Library Association
   

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

In a Pickle is a many-layered pleasure delivered by a master craftsman who is also, like Studs Terkel and Howard Zinn, a passionate student of the people’s history. As Apps engages us in the coming-of-age saga of the pickle factory manager Andy Meyer, this is at once a lesson in rural Wisconsin sociology, a quietly scathing indictment of factory farming, and a great read.”—John Galligan, author of The Nail Knot and The Blood Knot

In a Pickle tells this poignant story of change, family, and heartache in a nostalgic, yet unforgettable way.”—Oscar Mireles, editor of I Didn’t Know There Were Latinos in Wisconsin

“In 1955, life on the nation’s traditional small family farms was on a collision course with industrialization and technology. Small cheese factories were closing, combines were replacing the threshing crew, and workhorses were put out to pasture. It also meant that farm families were facing the traumas of the future. Jerry Apps chronicles this dilemma of change through the lives of central Wisconsin farmers who existed by the sweat of their brows and the muscles in their arms. . . . In a Pickle is a story you’ll read with relish and remember forever.”—John Oncken, syndicated agriculture columnist and radio commentator

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780299223045
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date:
05/13/2008
Edition description:
1
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,308,426
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than fifteen books, many of them on rural history and country life. His nonfiction books include Every Farm Tells a Story, Country Wisdom, When Chores Were Done, Humor from the Country, Country Ways and Country Days, One-Room Country Schools, Cheese, Breweries of Wisconsin, and Ringlingville USA. He is also the author of the historical novel The Travels of Increase Joseph. He received the 2007 Major Achievement Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers.

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In a Pickle: A Family Farm Story 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Novels are typically not on my 'to read' shelf. But I picked this one up because Apps' non-fiction has always been so much fun and chocked full of right-on memories for me. IN A PICKLE is about the time when I grew up - the 1950s - and about a place only half-a-county from where my family's farm was. This book is right up there as one of Apps' best, and it superbly captures the essence of the culture and the times. It tells an engaging story in a down-home and straightforward style that shows why Apps should be on everybody's list of really good storytellers. The book is a character-driven tale that's not only a fun read, but it will give you an effective insight into what small-farm life was really like half-a-century ago in middle America. After just the first couple of chapters of IN A PICKLE, I found it to be one of those few books that is so enjoyable that I forcibly and with difficulty limited myself to just a chapter or two a day - that way I knew I would get to enjoy it for a lot longer. The book has several layers to it: 1 - an enjoyable novel about the relationships of a cast of characters trying to get through tough times together, 2 - a chronicle of small farm families documenting some of the everyday realities of that life fifty years ago, 3 - a commentary on how progress in the big picture of things can impact the lives of the individual people being swept through those changes, and 4 - a depiction of how the modernization of technology can be a good thing, but how, whether it intends to or not, and for better or for worse, it can significantly disrupt the traditional order of things and much of what goes with that tradition. Those aspects can all be enjoyed on their own merits with IN A PICKLE. But the book also gives the reader a combined experience of all those things fitting together in one place and one period of the American landscape, an experience that back then was an indispensable part of our country's character. If you're old enough, IN A PICKLE jogs your memory about the old days and tickles your funny bone at the same time. If you're younger than that, the book takes you back in time to a part of your parents' world, and it does that in an entertaining way that leaves you appreciating some new things about that world your folks grew up in. In either case, you're apt to see some things in a way that you maybe hadn't considered before - until Jerry Apps let you know about it with IN A PICKLE.