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Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables Paperback – April 19, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith; 1 edition (April 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423600142
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423600145
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #549,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Community-supported agriculture is an increasingly popular farm-marketing system where subscribers buy a portion of the harvest before the growing season begins and receive weekly boxes of diverse vegetables that vary throughout the season. Angelic Organics is one of the largest farms of this kind in the country, serving 1,200 shareholders in the Chicago area, and Peterson's cookbook is an outgrowth of the chatty, idiosyncratic newsletters he's been sending to his members every week since 1993. The book is arranged seasonally by crop, offering recipes and information on storing and preserving the exotic or misunderstood vegetables like sunchokes, rutabagas and kohlrabi. Familiar staples like corn, tomatoes and spinach are also represented, but jazzed up with an eclectic international pantry of condiments and spices. Interspersed with the cooking discussions are philosophical essays on biodynamic agriculture by and about the movement's founder, Rudolf Steiner. While the relevance of some sidebars is questionable"cooking tips from the farm cook, and excerpts from farm newsletters on weather, harvest records and equipment heartaches"they do help readers vicariously experience life on this unique farm in this farm kitchen bible presented with missionary zeal. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


...there is much more than recipes in the cookbook's 360 pages, including comments from the cooks, letters from CSA members, excerpts from Farmer John's weekly newsletter, essays by nutrition experts and even a few poems. These tidbits spice up the basic fare and offer readers the flavor of an unusual and admirable farm. -- Lynn Byczynski, Mother Earth News

A charming companion cookbook to a popular documentary. Goes straight to the heart of Peterson's indomitable spirit: fresh, home-grown, organic produce...Just as with the farm, this isn't Peterson's project alone--shareholders contribute recipes, tips and testimonials throughout the text, giving it a communal feel. A warm, earthy celebration of agriculture and the journey from field to your table. -- Kirkus Reviews

As a chef, I know that without superb, seasonal, pristine product, I really cannot get too far. I have used the extraordinary produce from Angelic Organics, and I can attest it has made a substantial difference at Charlie Trotter's. The stories and recipes in this glorious book thoroughly connect the farmer to the kitchen. Congratulations, John, you've delivered a real winner. -- Chef Charlie Trotter

Farmer John, with boa and pitchfork, is provocative and passionate about cultivating not only delicious vegetables but also a vibrant community of farmers and consumers dedicated to the values of sustainability. -- Alice Waters, Chez Panisse

His life generated a movie, and the movie spawned a cookbook without peer--not only a big, brightly illustrated bag of recipes that will send you flying to your local farmers market, but also a physical and spiritual examination of the secret life of veggies and a re-chronicling of the struggles and triumphs of Farmer John. Every recipe sounds savory and lip-smacking, or sweet and tender. Farmer John's Cookbook is, like the man, unconventional, spiced with delectable sidebars such as...this overheard remark: "If I ever get married, I want a nice frying pan." Farmer John's Cookbook will quickly find a place on your kitchen shelf, your reading list, and your veggie-loving heart." --

Customer Reviews

Wonderful book, full of great photos and recipes.
Yes, More Books Please!
Aside from two cucumber recipes that I felt were a little off-target, every recipe I've tried from this book has been great!
The information on storage and usage of vegetables are wonderful.
M. Wagstaff

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Bower on July 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book skillfully weaves a tapestry of farm and food. It offers depth and also keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously. Relating the seasons to your cooking with pictures, stories, excellent recipes and more, it effectively captures ones experience of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Most cookbooks focus on the kitchen but this one takes you back to the farm, to where your vegetable ingredients are grown and the burgeoning CSA movement from which this deeper relationship springs. What an exciting new way to look at the food we eat.

A previous reviewer seems to have missed the tie-in this book might have to Omnivores Dilemma--not only is the book not vegetarian per se (although it certainly does focus on vegetables, meat is even included in some of the recipes), but how could this book be construed for an infomercial for a farm which is part of a CSA/local movement where the previous reviewer living in California (thousands of miles away from Angelic Organics' Illinois location) is unable to even participate or purchase even one vegetable. If it is an infomercial, it must be for the vegetables themselves and the local community supported agriculture movement ([...] helps you find your own local csa farm amongst many other local products) for which this book so effectively captures the spirit.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Christopher F. Orman on October 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
With the current spinach scare, modern industrial society has begun to reflect on exactly where their food originates. A DVD like Koons-Garcia's "The Future of Food" explores both the problems with our current genetically engineered food, while develing into the socio-economic issues conflicting farmers faced with the GE future; where seeds are patented or refuse to grow unless sprayed with Round-up.

Interestingly, when we enter a supermarket, rarely do we reflect on the fact that 70 percent of the produce we can purchase is, well, out of season. The distances produce travels to sate our society, to eat tomatoes in the dead of winter, provides carbon emission concerns, while again triggering the "now what kind of conditions were these vegetables produced under?" or more directly, "Are they safe to eat?"

Which is why a CSA, or community supported agriculture, has become viewed as a viable, intelligent option to our current predicament. Farmer's participate as a group, receiving a call every week to fill a specific number of orders. The farmer sees what they will have available, and only one day before being delivered, pick the said product. The farms net their produce together, fill a box with their various pickings(like figs, tomatoes, beets, squash, arugala, carrots, green onions, etc.) and then deliver them to a drop point where customers pick the boxes up. So week to week, the food the customer receives changes depending on availabilty and time of year.

Besides giving customers better produce, a CSA cuts carbon emissions because food travels on average 50 miles to 1500 miles, and obviates concerns of chemically laden, GE foods.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. Jindrich on August 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a food book to savor. Not your average, get-down-to-business, step 1,2,3 sort of cookbook, this is more of a food-for-the-soul book, with lots of scrumptious recipes thrown in. Originally conceived as a helpful guide for the consumer/members of Angelic Organics, a CSA farm, the book evokes a direct connection between family, food and farm. The sidebars about weather and agricultural theory, the stories and humor give the cook, even if he/she is preparing food in a high-rise in Manhattan, a feel for the origins and importance of the food being prepared. The book is about the seasons, about the work of farming, about the soil and about harvest joy. It celebrates life as viewed through the eyes of the farmer as well as the cook. Highly recommended as a provocative read as well as a cookbook.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Truth Speaker on July 11, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this cookbook on the recommendation of my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture = Organic Farm Share). It was written for CSA members who regularly get large batches of in-season vegetables that they may either not know how to cook, or are getting tired of as the season wears on.
As a result, it's packed with tons of vegetable recipes that are a bit out of the ordinary.
So far, absolutely everything I've tried has come out wonderfully, and brought a surprising new flavor to my table. A word of warning: somewhere between starting and finishing each of these recipes, I also had a moment of doubt, like "oh my God, why have I done this, this will never work." The moment always passed, and the recipes worked.
Normally I read cookbooks and then go out and do my own thing, picking maybe one or two recipes to actually follow from any given book. This book is so packed with unique ideas, and has been so successful every time that I follow the directions with unaccustomed frequency.
A must for CSA shareholders, I also recommend Farmer John's cookbook for anyone who wants to add more vegetables to their life, and more life to their vegetables.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Mosher on August 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
I was truly impressed by this book. Anyone can compile recipes and call it a cookbook!

This author in my opinion is very passionate about the earth, vegetables and very healthy eating.I enjoy using the recipes..They are not the "average" boil and serve recipes. I liked the anecdotes,pictures and the added plus.The handling,storage and usage is a nice reminder to us all. One outstanding feature of this book is how the author separates the vegetables into seasonal crops.

This is a MUST book for any kitchen!!!!!
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