Kentucky Heirloom Seeds: Growing, Eating, Saving

Kentucky Heirloom Seeds: Growing, Eating, Saving


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Saving seeds to plant for next year's crop has been key to survival around the globe for millennia. However, the twentieth century witnessed a grand takeover of seed producers by multinational companies aiming to select varieties ideal for mechanical harvest, long-distance transportation, and long shelf life. With the rise of the Slow Food and farm-to-table movements in recent years, the farmers and home gardeners who have been quietly persisting in the age-old habit of conserving heirloom plants are finally receiving credit for their vital role in preserving both good taste and the world's rich food heritage.

Kentucky Heirloom Seeds: Growing, Eating, Saving is an evocative exploration of the seed saver's art and the practice of sustainable agriculture. Bill Best and Dobree Adams begin by tracing the roots of the tradition in the state to a 700-year-old Native American farming village in north central Kentucky. Best shares tips for planting and growing beans and describes his family's favorite varieties for the table. Featuring interviews with many people who have worked to preserve heirloom varieties, this book vividly documents the social relevance of the rituals of sowing, cultivating, eating, saving, and sharing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813168876
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 03/31/2017
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Bill Best, professor emeritus from Berea College, is a Madison County, Kentucky, farmer and one of the charter members of the Lexington Farmers' Market. Widely known as a saver, collector, and grower of heirloom beans and tomatoes, he is the author of Saving Seeds, Preserving Taste: Heirloom Seed Savers in Appalachia.

Dobree Adams is primarily known in the region as a fiber artist and photographer. She gardens and farms on a river bottom of the Kentucky north of Frankfort.

Table of Contents

Foreword A. Gwynn Henderson ix

Preface xxvii

1 Seed Saving: Past, Present, and Future 1

2 Kentucky's Seed-Saving Pioneers 23

3 Getting to Know Beans 45

4 Getting to Know Tomatoes 57

5 Letting Traditions Speak 65

6 Growing, Eating, and Sharing: Frank Barnett's Stories 99

7 Seed-Saving Legacies 121

8 Practical Tips for Growing and Saving 157

9 Heirloom Favorites 165

10 Growing and Sharing Today 173

11 The High Price of Cheap Food: A Case for Heirlooms 209

Afterword Brook Elliott 227

Resources 241

Acknowledgments 247

About the Author 253

Index 255

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