Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$3.99
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by hippo_books
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Item qualifies for FREE shipping and Prime! This item is used.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer Hardcover – July 15, 2008


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$2.74 $0.01

Frequently Bought Together

Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer + Second Nature: A Gardener's Education
Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New and Popular Cookbooks for Fall
Get inspired with new and popular cookbooks and other food-related titles in Fall into Cooking.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1st edition (July 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767927060
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767927062
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,407,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a back-to-nature move more than a decade ago, Stark uprooted a handful of heirloom tomato seedlings from his Brooklyn brownstone and returned to Eckerton Hill, his Pennsylvanian boyhood home, to harvest two acres of multicolored oddities. From Mennonite country to New York City, using a rusted Toyota pickup, he transported his first auspicious crop of Hill Billies, Tiger Toms and Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifters to the Union Square Greenmarket, becoming the unlikely purveyor of apples to heirloom aficionados and Michelin-starred chefs. An amateur farmer with finite experience in organic farming and a rotating cast of weed-pulling hands, Stark takes on hornworms, groundhogs, cantankerous neighbors and route I-78, producing cover-worthy tomatoes for Gourmet, Brooklyn-bound sugar snaps and chocolate habaneros for discriminating farmers' market cognoscenti. With his produce and dogged perseverance, Stark bridges the gap between New York's posh kitchens and the sun-drenched fields of the rural countryside, commenting along the way on buzzwords like organic, the effects of urban sprawl, and farming's changing landscape. His recounting of fly-by-night agricultural tactics, stomach-turning worries and relief-inducing bumper crops paints a poignant picture of a dwindling form of American life. Through his urbane relationships with the Bouleys and Bouluds and pastoral friendships with the likes of fellow berry, pea shoot and haricot vert producers, he illustrates the unlikely bond between the tomato-laden farm and the urban table. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Lovingly crafted memoir about the author’s days producing organic veggies on his small farm in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Stark’s Eckerton Hill Farm provides fruits and vegetables for a discerning retail clientele at New York’s Union Square Greenmarket. The author also delights the palates of sophisticated foodies via the kitchens of the great chefs at Gotham’s priciest eateries. Readers get an introduction to regular farmer’s market customers and sellers and a field guide to the practices of Stark’s affable Amish and Mennonite neighbors. Other aspects of the author’s cultivation surface in references to diverse literary sources from Cheever to Crèvecoeur. It all combines to make entertaining light fare. A fresh writer’s salad garnished with an colorful dressing for foodies with a yen for sensual comestibles." --Kirkus Reviews

"Fourteen years ago, with zero farming experience, Tim Stark started 3,000 heirloom tomato plants in his Brooklyn apartment then transferred them to the family acreage in Pennsylvania. The multi-colored fruit of his labor...were a hit, snapped up by amateur and pro chefs at NYC's greenmarket. With succulent wit, he conveys the poetry of a well-grown tomato." --Entertainment Weekly

"In a “back-to-nature” move more than a decade ago, Stark uprooted a handful of heirloom tomato seedlings from his Brooklyn brownstone and returned to Eckerton Hill, his Pennsylvanian boyhood home, to harvest two acres of multicolored oddities. With his produce and dogged perseverance, Stark bridges the gap between New York's posh kitchens and the sun-drenched fields of the rural countryside, commenting along the way on buzzwords like organic, the effects of urban sprawl, and farming's changing landscape. His recounting of fly-by-night agricultural tactics, stomach-turning worries and relief-inducing bumper crops paints a poignant picture of a dwindling form of American life. Through his urbane relationships with the Bouleys and Bouluds and pastoral friendships with the likes of fellow berry, pea shoot and haricot vert producers, he illustrates the unlikely bond between the tomato-laden farm and the urban table." --Publishers Weekly


"Get a down-to-earth look at the farm fresh fad in this delicious and revealing memoir from a greenmarket superstar whose famous tomatoes are coveted by top chefs." --Good Housekeeping



Advance Praise for Heirloom

“Like a vine-ripened tomato still warm from the sun, Heirloom is a most satisfying experience. Tim Stark is a natural-born storyteller—funny, poignant, and unerringly authentic. Charming with a capital C.”
—John Grogan, author of Marley & Me and former editor of Organic Gardening

“Every year, Tim Stark’s gorgeous tomatoes serve as the sign that summer has arrived. Tim has put as much craft into this book as he puts into his annual harvests.”
—Daniel Boulud, Chef / Restaurateur

“Tim Stark is the poet laureate of the nightshade and of Eastern Pennsylvania; his tomatoes and peppers burst on the mind’s palate as his native landscape comes to shaley, fecund life under his hands. Heirloom is clearly descended from Montaigne and M. F. K. Fisher; it takes its place grandly among the literature of passionate obsessives.”
—Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man

“This is the Tim Stark I've known for more than a decade: one-fourth farmer, one-fourth storyteller, and half mad. He tells it like it is.”
—Dave Pasternack, Chef / Owner of Esca and author of The Young Man and the Sea

“Successful farming in the twenty-first century is about connecting with all sorts of people, and Tim Stark’s gift is his ability to convey these connections. Whether he is bantering with a farmer's market customer or accepting a free meal from a five-star chef, the spark of necessary human interaction comes through effortlessly in his prose.”
—Dan Sullivan, senior editor of The Rodale Institute

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

I'm a big fan of John McPhee's nonfiction.
Kevin McCloskey
Stark should have given the book one more thorough review and revision, but I suspect that would have been asking too much of his rather restless personality.
R. M. Peterson
So.... I guess I would say that if you can manage to get past the wanton animal cruelty you might find this an enjoyable read.
Kathryn A. Kleinschmidt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Kevin McCloskey on August 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Heirloom: Notes From an Accidental Tomato Farmer is the bestselling book at my local coffeehouse in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. It is the only book for sale at the Uptown. The author is a farmer who grows the vegetables they use in their savory soups and salads. Last week, along with the tomatoes and red beets, Tim Stark delivered a case of books. I picked up a copy of out of curiosity. I am not much of a gardener, no gourmet, never even pause on the food channel, but found this book to be quite extraordinary.

Did you see the YouTube video of the elephant painting a picture? The elephant holds a brush in his trunk and paints a self-portrait. It was one hell of a great painting for an elephant. I feared Heirloom would leave me thinking `great book for a farmer.' Well, my fears were groundless. Heirloom is a great book for any writer of English language prose.

Tim Stark writes with wit, economy, and remarkable style. I'm a big fan of John McPhee's nonfiction. Heirloom makes reference to McPhee's Giving Good Weight, which chronicled the early days of the Union Square Greenmarket where Stark sells his prize tomatoes. Among the farmers Stark talks to is Alvina Frey, the New Jersey bean grower McPhee described as the essence of that market.

But Heirloom reminds me more of McPhee's 1966 classic, Oranges. The back cover of Oranges quotes Roderick Cook's review from Harper's magazine, "This is a surprising book. You may come to the end of it and say to yourself, `But I can't have read a whole book about oranges!' But the chances are you will have done so... It's a delicious book...
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Peterson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tim Stark was an aspiring author doing various makeweight jobs in New York City when he got preoccupied with trying to raise heirloom tomatoes in his Brooklyn apartment. When his landlord put his foot down, Stark relocated his tomatoes and himself to his boyhood home in Lenhartsville, in Berks County, Pennsylvania, which is within the farming region of the Pennsylvania Dutch and about a two-hour drive from NYC (assuming no traffic jams). HEIRLOOM recounts Stark's ten or so years raising organic produce -- principally, heirloom tomatoes, but also chile peppers and sugar snap peas among many others -- on a few acres in Pennsylvania and then selling his produce at the Union Square Greenmarket and to some of the best restaurants in New York City.

Stark confronts an endless succession of obstacles and problems -- ignorance, weather, inadequate and balky equipment, lack of ready cash, insufficient labor, an obstreperous jerk of a neighbor, and insects, deer, and gophers -- each of which he somehow overcomes, or circumvents, or, at a minimum, learns to live with. Thankfully (for me, at least), Stark does not dwell on tedious agricultural details. This is not a gardener's journal; if anything, it probably is of greater interest to the appreciative consumer of organic farming than the practitioner. Interesting subjects discussed at some length are the Amish and Mennonites of the area, the farmer/chef relationships that have developed and undergird some of the most noted restaurants in NYC, and the bleak future for similar agricultural operations catering to urban markets, due to shrinking affordable farmland.

Stark's writing is above average, occasionally quite good, but it is uneven and at times a little disjointed and unnecessarily confusing.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Genene Murphy on September 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Heirloom is perhaps best served in the hands of obsessed foodies who crave behind-the-scenes tours of small organic farms, beyond what Food & Wine magazine teases. For gardeners, Heirloom is welcome and amusing company of crazy.

Without pretense or rehearsed narrative, Stark recounts his humble initiations into organic farming (and supplying top chefs in NYC), knowing very little about it, other than what his obsessions demand. His misadventures amuse. It's not perfect writing, yet it is exactly those imperfections that endear this find.

Detours from the narrative will surprise and delight. Unexpected passages include how Mennonite neighbors coach Stark in farming, auction etiquette and small engine repair. (The last paragraph in that chapter is especially moving.) And vignettes give depth and color to an unlikely cast of characters who help Stark plant, pick, sell and save his crops. Best of all, Stark unearths a family history that gives context and perhaps motivation to his madness. While it is all true, it reads like fiction, a story that you'll surely recommend and remember.

A fantastic late-summer read and welcome winter remedy for gardening/foody obsessives that crave the first signs of Spring.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gentleheart TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book. It's a quick read, well-written, very personal. If you're interested in knowing more about the reasons a person might become an heirloom tomato farmer when the economic indicators for such a major life change are all negative, read this book. The perils of small-farming are apparent, but somehow, so are the joys. I read the book on a day when I should have been working my own tomatoes, but we've had a rough year and I needed a break. This was it, so I have to say "Thank you Tim!"
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews