Youthful stints doing slug labor on a midwestern dairy farm (hot!) and being tossed about on a commercial fishing boat off Nova Scotia (frigid!) taught me that writing about how food is produced is a hell of a lot easier than actually producing it. For several blissful years, I received a steady paycheck from the late, lamented Gourmet magazine. Now I write for the New York Times, Saveur, Epicurious, OnEarth, AtlanticLife.com--pretty much anyone who will pay me. I also blog at www.politicsoftheplate.com, which received the 2011 James Beard Award for best food blog. I live on a 30-acre plot in Vermont where I putter around in a large vegetable garden (a great place for a procrastinating writer), tend a small flock of laying hens, make maple syrup, and brew some of the vilest hard cider on the planet.