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The Food Lover's Garden: Amazing Edibles You Will Love to Grow and Eat Hardcover – January 26, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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About the Author

Mark Diacono runs the pioneering Otter Farm where he makes use of the changing climate to grow a wide range of food that is usually sourced from warmer climes. An award-winning journalist and photographer, Mark is also well known for his lectures, courses and work at River Cottage.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press (January 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604692294
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604692297
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.9 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,569,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I wish I could award this book more than 5 stars because it is the work of genius. Mark Diacono has crafted a rare thing: a non-fiction book about food, growing and cooking that's a cracking page turner. I returned home yesterday evening after a 320-mile round trip to a day long seminar to find this long anticipated book had arrived. I opened the package, was instantly hooked and finished reading it in the early hours of this morning.

After writing the widely acclaimed Veg Patch: River Cottage Handbook No.4 last year, Diacono has turned his attention away from the standard grow your own fayre to his major love, the growing of the more unusual fruit and vegetables. His philosophy is simple: why waste so much time and effort on growing the usual (usually cheap to buy) suspects only to find they don't taste that much different to what's available at the shops? Instead we should turn our attention to the tastes and foods we savour the most and use these as our guides to drive out the list of things we really want to grow. If the list still contains potatoes or carrots then that's fine, but do make sure they're varieties that can't easily be found in the shops.

If flavours and what you like to eat are your guide, then Mark argues you'll also find that more of the unusual foods available for cultivation will then be added to your must-grow list. He's the ideal candidate to show us the possibilities this offers as this is exactly what he has been doing over the past few years at Otter Farm, his smallholding in Devon which is billed as Britain's first climate change farm. He's saved us hours of work by revealing nearly 40 of his best tried and tested more unusual crops.
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Format: Hardcover
Is it a gardening book or a food-lover's book? Who cares, when it's this beautifully crafted?

As a landscape designer looking to increase my value to potential clients, learning more about unusual edibles was an intensely appealing idea. But part of the problem I've had in the past when trying new things, is that my clients don't always know what to do with the unusual fruits and vegetables I help them grow, even though they're enthused about trying something new. And I don't always know the quirks of growing them, because, duh, they're unusual!

Enter The Food Lover's Garden. Diacono's skilled with both gardening and cooking, and shows extraordinary ways of using both usual and unusual plants in the kitchen. Many of my clients already grow Fuchsia magellenica, so having a recipe for fuchsia fruit leather was awesome. I can see myself lending my copy of the book to interested parties!

I also already grow Chilean Guava, a useful landscape shrub here in the Pacific Northwest, so being able to show my clients that this isn't JUST an ornamental, but can also be used in muffins, or to make a slightly exotic jam, is really fun. The juniper-like tang to the mildly sweet berries makes them fun enough to be worth the trouble to pick.

There are recipes using mizuna, medlars, daylilies, alpine strawberries, quince, sweet chestnut, blue honeysuckle, goji berries, Carolina allspice, and many, many more. The best thing about the recipes is that detailed tips are given in each, sharing what about the flavor or texture of the plant or fruit is shown off to best advantage in the recipe. This really helps when you're trying to create your own recipes later.

Another thing I love is that this recipe and gardening book is just plain fun to read.
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Format: Hardcover
I first opened this book entirely at random and the first thing I read was, `I have never been a great fan of fuchsias to look at. They remind me of the gardens of the retirement homes I used to walk past on my way to school and I loathe their gaudy red/purple flowers'. I too have never been a fan of fuchsias but, aside from `the gaudy red/purple flowers' I could never hit upon why my aversion was so strong. As soon as I read that little passage I realized why: intimations of mortality perhaps! At any rate, it was this that made me spend a bit more time scanning the book's contents and, having done so and realizing what a mine of information it was regarding potential `foods' I wouldn't have ordinarily considered to be so, eventually, deciding to buy. The writing is chatty, informal and peppered with little nuggets of information that instil the urge to rush outside to get planting! And I haven't yet mentioned the beautiful photographs. In short absolutely brilliant!
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