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Stronger Than Dirt: How One Urban Couple Grew a Business, a Family, and a New Way of Life from the Ground Up Paperback – April 22, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1995, lured by a friend's enthusiasm for the pleasures of market gardening and his tales of the money to be made selling produce at greenmarkets, the authors, who lived in Brooklyn, decided to buy 30 acres of land in upstate New York. Schaye, who was an editorial writer for the New York Daily News, got herself reassigned as a reporter in the paper's Albany bureau so she could be close to the farm, and Losee gave up his failing construction business. In lively alternating essays, husband and wife tell the story of their venture. He recounts the details of building a house, tilling the land, constructing a deer fence; she, bemused at her husband's grandiose plans and his unfailing confidence, goes along with everything, including spending the first winter with thousands of tomato and pepper seedlings growing in the bedroom of their temporary apartment in Albany. Increasingly dissatisfied with her job covering the static New York State government, Schaye finally gave it up and entered wholeheartedly into farm work. After the first summer, they sold their house in Brooklyn, took part-time jobs, and through backbreaking labor, made their farm work. Now they have a successful business selling flowers and fresh produce at greenmarkets. Without playing down the hardships of the endeavor-though they're vague about financial details-the authors have written an engaging and unfailingly optimistic book. 16 b&w photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Schaye was an editorial writer for the New York Daily News, and her husband, Losee, was facing the failure of a construction business begun by his father when they decided to make a leap of faith. They bought land in the Hudson Valley and started a farm, with little previous experience other than some rooftop gardening. In this engaging account of their transition from urbanites to farmers, Schaye and Losee alternate, providing his-and-her perspectives on the joys and travails of starting Silverpetals Farm and marketing flowers and produce to city dwellers. They endured the skepticism of their friends and family, as well as the locals in their new surroundings, and the challenges of weather, bugs, and their own steep learning curve. Looking back over seven years, the birth of two children, the creation of a successful business, and the personal journey to more fulfilling lives, Schaye and Losee offer insights into both farming and the pursuit of dreams. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1 edition (April 22, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 060980975X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609809754
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,217,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Benno on March 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
What a fun book! Stronger than Dirt is a funny, fun, interesting look into the world of farming -- through formerly non-farmers' eyes. Told in a "he says, she says" format, you're able to see both sides of a funny -- and true -- story. Ms. Schaye's descriptions of the heat, sweat, labor, and truly beautiful countryside contrast with Mr. Losee's idealistic, optimistic, and realistic descriptions of the -- heat, sweat, and labor -- that went into starting their farm in Upstate New York. Their "truthful" and "no-holds-barred" writing style lets you feel their pains, triumphs, and successes almost first-hand. Even though my thumb is beyond black and I am not really into gardening, I enjoyed this book for the unusual and charming story that it is. I found myself laughing with their humor, and wincing with their setbacks, and I loved hearing about their families' reactions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mare on September 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up at the library over the summer when I was looking for a gardening book. I wasn't looking for a STORY about gardening but after starting the book, I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting their journey was. A young couple wants to start a new business that is very different from what they are use to. I am actually thinking of looking for it again (at the library) just to re-read it.
It was almost a step by step guide to starting up a family farming business.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Benson on June 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
If you are longing to leave the big city life and running away to live on a farm, this book is a good one to read. It isn't exactly a story of happily ever after. Instead, it's a true story of just how hard it is to grow flowers for a living. It's a story of how hard yet rewarding it is to follow your dreams, even if they aren't practical.
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