It's a Long Road to a Tomato: Tales of an Organic Farmer Who Quit the Big City for the (Not So) Simple Life

It's a Long Road to a Tomato: Tales of an Organic Farmer Who Quit the Big City for the (Not So) Simple Life

by Keith Stewart, Flavia Bacarella
     
 

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Keith Stewart, already in his early forties and discontent with New York's corporate grind, moved upstate and started a one-man organic farm in 1986. Today, having surmounted the seemingly endless challenges to succeeding as an organic farmer, Keith employs seven to eight seasonal interns and provides 100 varieties of fresh produce to the shoppers and chefs who

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Overview

Keith Stewart, already in his early forties and discontent with New York's corporate grind, moved upstate and started a one-man organic farm in 1986. Today, having surmounted the seemingly endless challenges to succeeding as an organic farmer, Keith employs seven to eight seasonal interns and provides 100 varieties of fresh produce to the shoppers and chefs who flock twice weekly, May to December, to his stand at Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan-the only place where his produce is sold. It's a Long Road to a Tomato opens a window into the world of Keith's Farm, with essays on Keith's development as a farmer, the nuts and bolts of organic farming for an urban market, farm animals domestic and wild, and the political, social, and environmental issues relevant to agriculture today-and their impact on all of us.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“[A] heartfelt chronicle, sobering and amusing by turn. Although focused on the particular, it transcends Keith’s Farm and illuminates exactly what it is that we are putting on our plates, whether we shop at Keith Stewart’s stand in the Union Square Greenmarket or at a farmers’ market elsewhere. It’s a delicious read—but what makes it an important one is that it has so enriched the ongoing conversation about food.”—from the new foreword by Deborah Madison

"Keith Stewart's essays afford a fine way 'in' to the compelling realities of life on a small organic farm in the twenty-first century. His writing is precise and evocative: immediacy bound with a strong meditative underpinning that is an enduring pleasure to read. Like all really good writing, it illuminates a great deal more than the subject at hand."
—Sally Schneider, syndicated columnist and author of A New Way to Cook"Beguiling and enlightening"—Booklist

From the Publisher
"Beguiling and enlightening"
Booklist

"Keith Stewart’s essays afford a fine way ‘in’ to the compelling realities of life on a small organic farm in the twenty-first century. His writing is precise and evocative: immediacy bound with a strong meditative underpinning that is an enduring pleasure to read. Like all really good writing, it illuminates a great deal more than the subject at hand."
—Sally Schneider, syndicated columnist and author of A New Way to Cook

"Keith’s writing reads with the force and love of nature’s elements—strong, refreshing, beautiful, and true. It’s as fresh as his delicious carrots, and as poignant as his incomparable garlic!"
Leslie McEachern, owner of the Angelica Kitchen, New York City

"Keith Stewart has been providing New Yorkers with magnificent vegetables for two decades. Now, as if to prove he can do anything, he provides all Americans with a compelling story about his own approach to farming. And at precisely the right moment, just as millions of people across the country are rediscovering the pleasure, and the importance, of eating close to home."
Bill McKibben, author of Wandering Home and The End of Nature

"To combat urban crowding, copies of It’s a Long Road to a Tomato should be airlifted into major cities. The captivating charm of organic farming, so deliciously described in Keith Stewart’s essays, would surely have hordes of city dwellers packing their bags. Stewart’s stories transport me into the precious and full life of an organic farmer. I more than appreciate it; I now feel part of it."
Jeffrey M. Smith, author of Seeds of Deception

"Keith Stewart opens this engaging book by transforming himself abruptly from midlife executive into novice organic farmer. The twenty years that follow on an upstate New York farm are sampled here in true-life tales that—without denying the sometimes harsh realities of the small producer’s life—leave the reader in no doubt of the joys that keep this small farmer on the land."
Joan Dye Gussow, author of This Organic Life

"Ever dreamed of living on a farm or growing your own food? Here’s the clearest picture of what farm life really looks like. The romance of a pastoral life isn’t shattered by Stewart’s depiction of the gritty reality of farm life. They coexist, side by side, mirroring Stewart’s organic and integrated approach to farming. Stewart’s book is a gift to cooks. Now, each time I cook with food from a farmer I know, I have a deeper and clearer idea of what really goes into growing healthy and delicious food and why our farmers are heroes."
Peter Hoffman, chef/owner of Savoy Restaurant, New York City

“[A] heartfelt chronicle, sobering and amusing by turn. Although focused on the particular, it transcends Keith’s Farm and illuminates exactly what it is that we are putting on our plates, whether we shop at Keith Stewart’s stand in the Union Square Greenmarket or at a farmers’ market elsewhere. It’s a delicious read—but what makes it an important one is that it has so enriched the ongoing conversation about food.”
—from the new foreword by Deborah Madison

Library Journal
This is not another book of anecdotes encouraging city slickers to begin a pastoral life full of colorful characters. Instead, it is a thoughtful, candid account of one man's experience as an organic farmer. Stewart is no dilettante: he has farmed for almost 20 years and has commented on food issues and farming in the New York Times, Gourmet, and a regional magazine. His essays, written over the last eight years and sometimes recounting earlier stories, show the evolution of his farm and relate his experiences selling produce at New York City's farmers markets. Pieces on growing crops and the antics of animals intermingle with insights into political, social, and environmental issues. As in David Mas Masumoto's Four Seasons in Five Senses: Things Worth Savoring, each essay here works as a standalone; some of Stewart's comments also recall Michael Ableman's struggle to farm amid urban sprawl in California (On Good Land: The Autobiography of an Urban Farm). Nicely illustrated; recommended for all public libraries.-Bonnie Poquette, Boerner Botanical Gardens Lib., Milwaukee Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781615190232
Publisher:
Experiment, The
Publication date:
08/10/2010
Edition description:
Revised and Expanded Second Edition
Pages:
344
Sales rank:
680,690
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.88(d)

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Meet the Author

Keith Stewart is a NOFA-NY certified organic vegetable grower in Westtown, New York, who has been selling to the NYC Union Square Greenmarket since it began. Keith’s garlic has been called “the most soulful garlic on earth” by Time Out New York. The New York Times said, “Keith’s farm grows garlic from another planet compared with the stuff in supermarkets.” He is the author of It’s a Long Road to a Tomato: Tales of an Organic Farmer Who Quit the Big City for the (Not So) Simple Life. His essays appear in The Valley Table, “the Hudson Valley’s only magazine devoted to regional farms, food, and cuisine.”

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