"Peter Hatch's vibrant and enthusiastic passion for preserving Thomas Jefferson's farming legacy at Monticello reminds us all of the time-tested continuity and historical root of this kind of agriculture."—Alice Waters
“In this fascinating book, Peter Hatch wonderfully weaves together his deep understanding of Monticello’s soil with his scholarly knowledge of Jefferson’s legacy as a gardener.”—Andrea Wulf, author of Founding Gardeners
(Andrea Wulf 2011-10-20)
“Peter Hatch is the ultimate authority on America’s ultimate vegetable garden. Learn all about the genius of the place. Hatch’s fascinating account will enrich your garden and your life.”—Amy P. Goldman, Chair of the Board, Seed Savers Exchange
(Amy P. Goldman 2011-10-20)
"Peter Hatch brings the horticultural legacy of Thomas Jefferson to life. A Rich Spot of Earth
affords us a clear and compelling view into the revolutionary thinking of Jefferson, illuminating for the reader his approach to food, diversity, democracy, and freedom – making the genius of Jefferson, perhaps, as relevant today as at any other time in American history."—P. Allen Smith, author of The Garden Home Series
(P. Allen Smith 2011-10-25)
"Elegantly produced and artfully augmented by stunning, evocative photographs of the estate and the bounty it produces, Hatch’s homage establishes Jefferson as the clear forefather of modern organic and sustainable garden movements."—Carol Haggas, Booklist
(Carol Haggas Booklist
"...there is much interesting archive material, and pleasing vegetable still-lifes composed with the care of a Dutch master."—Ambra Edwards, Gardens Illustrated
(Ambra Edwards Gardens Illustrated
"Beautifully illustrated, authoritative. . . . It is wonderful to find out that the man who contributed so much to the republic in which we live also set his contemporaries—and posterity—such a salutary example in other ways as well."—Martin Rubin, Washington Times
(Martin Rubin Washington Times
"Elegantly produced and artfully augmented by stunning, evocative photographs of the estate and the bounty it produces, Hatch's homage establishes Jefferson as the clear forefather of modern organic and sustainable garden movements."—Carol Haggas, Booklist, Starred Review
(Carol Haggas Booklist
"A Rich Spot of Earth: Thomas Jefferson's Revolutionary Garden at Monticello presents a rarely seen side of the man. Here is Jefferson with mud-splattered boots laying out garden beds and carefully setting seeds with dirty hands: a Founding Father not on a lofty pedestal, but joyfully competing with neighbors in an annual contest to see who could bring the first spring peas to table."—David Maurer, Richmond Times-Dispatch
(David Maurer Richmond Times-Dispatch
"Breathtaking. The photos are beautiful, the research is impeccable, and the story is captivating. From a historian's perspective, Hatch provides a new depth to the understanding of Jefferson's character. From a gardener's perspective, the book serves as an inspiration to grow and treasure heirlooms."—Heirloom Adventures Blog
(Heirloom Adventures Blog
"The book is absolutely beautiful and tells a fascinating story. It provides pure pleasure for those interested in tasty food lavishly presented. And it opens up a new and interesting way of thinking about Jefferson, the Founding Father who remains most relevant and malleable for Americans."—Erik Loomis, Lawyers, Guns, and Money Blog
(Erik Loomis Lawyers, Guns, and Money Blog
"Digging deep into our long, illustrious tradition of presidential dirt. . . .A Rich Spot of Earth lovingly describes the 1000-foot terraced vegetable garden that was restored to its 1812 appearance under the author's able direction."—Dominique Browning, New York Times Book Review
(Dominique Browning New York Times Book Review
Winner of a 2013 American Horticultural Society Book Award.
(American Horticultural Society Book Award American Horticultural Society
Winner, Silver Award of Achievement from the 2013 Garden Writers Association Media Awards Program.
(Silver Award of Achievement Garden Writers Association
Winner, 2013 Annual Book Award, The Colonial Dames of America
(Annual Book Award The Colonial Dames of America
Interesting Facts & Stats
from "A Rich Spot of Earth"
· Open to new ideas from far-flung sources, Thomas Jefferson incorporated gardening traditions from England, France, Spain and the Mediterranean, West Africa, and Creole culture.
· With boundless enthusiasm, Jefferson sought seeds and distributed them. He received them from the Lewis and Clark expedition, from neighbors and friends across America, and from an international community of plantsmen.
· Jefferson experimented with over 330 varieties and some 99 species of vegetables.
· With some of his neighbors, Jefferson enjoyed a tradition of competing to raise spring peas; whoever harvested the first spring pea hosted a community dinner that included a feast on the winning pea crop.
· Unique among Virginia gardeners of his day, Jefferson introduced a roster of unfamiliar species now taken for granted, including tomatoes, okra, eggplant, lima beans, peanuts, and peppers.
· Anticipating healthy living advice that would be extolled two centuries later, Jefferson wrote, “I have lived temperately, eating little animal food, and that . . . as a condiment for the vegetables which constitute my principal diet.”
· Jefferson documented nearly six decades of horticultural triumphs and failures in his Garden Book, a diary he maintained from 1766 to 1824. This rich record made possible the most accurate early American garden restoration ever undertaken.