From the Publisher
“The Seasons on Henry’s Farm, a book to be reckoned with, lifts you high enough to witness the tremendous possibilities people are capable of expressing in their working livesin this case, through farming. If you’re a fan of Aldo Leopold, or have long suspected that time-honored methods of farming are best for the earth (and our taste buds) and require intelligence and thoroughness exceeding the levels demanded by most occupations, you will discover here that your suspicions are well founded
. The Seasons on Henry’s Farm is an exhilarating story of observation. It’s a humbling one, too, for few of us can imagine mustering the endurance and precision needed to farm this deeply. But that Henry and his familial band of followers can and do, again and again, makes the world of the farm more than a dream or an ideal. It’s a great encouraging kick in the pants for all of us, regardless of how we spend our time, or what we do, to achieve such excellence in full consciousness of all its complexities and consequences. This book tells a tale as raw and vivid as one could hope for, while gently imparting what we need to know about the soil, plants, and animals that sustain us.”
from the foreword by Deborah Madison
“Here's what you get when the farmer's sister turns out to be a masterful writer: a compelling argument for rebuilding our nation's food security that is threaded within a lyrical, funny, suspenseful narrative of life on her brother's Illinois farm. The cycles of the agrarian calendar are so vividly described within these pages that I was sure I would wake up the next morning with sore muscles.”
Sandra Steingraber, author of Living Downstream and Having Faith
“Terra Brockman's new book is such a delightful synergy of poetic inspiration and realistic descriptions of life on a farm. Here is everything from the joy and satisfaction of growing garlic and raising turkeys, to tending fruit trees and growing vegetables. At the same time, every farmer/gardener can relate to the graphic description of the complexity and difficulty of producing these same foods, and to the fact that ‘nothing is perfect, nothing lasts, and nothing is ever finished.’ Given the recent renewed interest in gardening and urban farming, the appearance of this inspiring book could not be more timely.”
Frederick Kirschenmann, president,
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
…informative and earnest…anyone thinking about farming as a way of life should read it. The Seasons on Henry's Farm isn't full of peril. It doesn't warn away or beckon hither. It's a sober, cleareyed assessment of what needs to get done, when, how and why. By describing a year's worth of chores on her brother's farm in central Illinois, Brockman give us an excellent idea of how demanding and profoundly rewarding farming can be.
The New York Times
After reading Brockman's lyrical portrait of a central Illinois sustainable farm, citizens of the Fast Food Nation and Slow Foodies alike will gain a renewed appreciation for a fresh tomato or a fistful of basil. Covering a year on her family's farm, biologist and writer Brockman takes readers through the cycle of farming, transmitting the chill of numb fingers harvesting lettuce and the searing heat of cucumber and tomato harvests, not to mention the meticulous winter seeding and backbreaking weeding that ensure a successful crop. Brockman doesn't pull any punches, from the slaughter and processing of poultry, to the politics of plastic shopping bags at the farmers' market, to harrowing tales of pesticides that will have readers rethinking supermarket peaches. Digressions involving farming methods and quirky residents like Lucky Tom the turkey entertain rather than distract; recipes for fresh corn, pea soup and fried green tomatoes also enhance Brockman's multi-dimensional take on what, in less gifted hands, could have been a pedestrian story. Sure to inspire a trip to the farmers market, and a much deeper appreciation of its bounty, Brockman covers her subject with hard-earned expertise and organic passion.
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