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The Seasons on Henry's Farm: A Year of Food and Life on a Sustainable Farm Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Agate Surrey (December 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157284115X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572841154
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After reading Brockman's lyrical portrait of a central Illinois sustainable farm, citizens of the Fast Food Nation and Slow Foodies alike will gain a renewed appreciation for a fresh tomato or a fistful of basil. Covering a year on her family's farm, biologist and writer Brockman takes readers through the cycle of farming, transmitting the chill of numb fingers harvesting lettuce and the searing heat of cucumber and tomato harvests, not to mention the meticulous winter seeding and backbreaking weeding that ensure a successful crop. Brockman doesn't pull any punches, from the slaughter and processing of poultry, to the politics of plastic shopping bags at the farmers' market, to harrowing tales of pesticides that will have readers rethinking supermarket peaches. Digressions involving farming methods and quirky residents like Lucky Tom the turkey entertain rather than distract; recipes for fresh corn, pea soup and fried green tomatoes also enhance Brockman's multi-dimensional take on what, in less gifted hands, could have been a pedestrian story. Sure to inspire a trip to the farmers market, and a much deeper appreciation of its bounty, Brockman covers her subject with hard-earned expertise and organic passion.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Locavores will appreciate Brockman's book as a testament to sustainable agriculture; those just looking for an engaging read won t be left hungry, either."--Janet Fuller"The Chicago Sun-Times" (11/11/2009)"

More About the Author

Terra Brockman was born in Florida (where her father was earning his PhD in genetics, and where her older brother inadvertently chopped off part of her finger when she was two), but raised in central Illinois, where four generations of her family had farmed.

Of course she couldn't wait to leave what seemed a capital B Backwater, so she "lit out for the territories" when she was eighteen. After spending time at the University of Oregon and the University of California at Berkeley, and finishing up an undergraduate and graduate degree in English Literature and Biology at Illinois State University, she went to Japan and worked as a teacher, writer, and editor for five years, and then to New York City where she worked as a writer and editor for almost a decade.

During those years, she traveled extensively, from Nepal to Eritrea to Morocco to the Baltics. While visiting "third world" countries she found she often ate better foods than in the U.S. because their foods were fresh, local, and unprocessed. As she gradually returned to her roots in central Illinois, Terra realized that the best food in the world could and should be grown in the rich soils of Illinois and that it was a matter of national security that communities be able to feed themselves.

In 2001, she founded The Land Connection, a nonprofit working to save farmland, train new farmers, and connect consumers with fresh local foods. Terra has eaten bacon-wrapped duck testicles, but her favorite food is a lightly fried duck egg on toast.

Terra regularly writes and speaks on food and agriculture topics. More information is available at TerraBrockman"dot"com.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Bravo for the family farm!
Jean Sherwig
What a beautiful love poem to Terra has written about her family and The Land on which they farm.
David M. DeMarini
It was very well written and educational too.
MaryAnn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Nancy O. on November 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you're a typical city/suburban resident like myself who has purchased "organic" vegetables at the standard grocery store only to find they were a total waste of money, this book explains why. Terra enlightens the non-farmer with incredible detail, yet in a manner that makes the reading pure pleasure. The Brockmans are clearly a highly intellectual family who fore go the city life for the simple life. A life of hard work, but more rewards than most of us can imagine. It's such a pleasure to read, the fact that you are learning about farming is truly secondary to the story.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sarz Maxwell MD on January 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'm so intrigued by how the entire book was woven around a skeleton formed by several dimensions of time: seasons, crops, generations, and human mortality. The element of time was suggested by everything about the book -- the photos, Hiroko's beautiful pen-and-ink drawings, the nature of the recipes, the inclusion of bits from the various generations. I was always aware of time, which gave the book -- or at least this reader -- a sense of urgency, an awareness of the passage of time, assuaged by a comforting reminder of the circle of immortality, the timelessness of the Earth. This book made me want to DO.

I loved the interspersing of different styles. A description of planting garlic leads naturally to the recipe for "Pockets full of garlic soup", and thence to musings about the importance of timing, overlayered with rueful complaints about aching, aging knees in contrast to those of Kazami, "a compact, curly-headed, 13-year-old package of fearless life force hurtling down the hillside on a blur of bicycle". Later, scholarly discussions of the enduring dangers of chemical fertilizers (the author's father is an environmental geneticist) are woven into an attempt to capture the meaning of wabi-sabi, a Japanese Zen concept that the author relates to rural community life, thanking the hens for their eggs, and macabre stories told to grandchildren to make them behave.

This is a particularly good book to give as a gift. It is wonderful to use for morning meditations (especially since it's laid out chronologically over a year). It's very funny, and thoughtful, and loving. I've given this book to many, and treasure my own.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By April Friend on October 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
After spending most of my summer buying Henry's produce and Teresa's fruits and herbs, I was thrilled to be able to attend their annual Potluck and Tour in early October. While I was there, I picked up a copy of this book, and have not put it down since. I'm on my third reading, and it's become my way to soothe my mind before heading off to slumber.

The quality of Henry's produce is nearly unmatched - and certainly anything I've had in the past pales in comparison. Seeing the farm offered one perspective; reading about it brought an entirely new one. Terra is a remarkably gifted writer, bringing the farm and all that comes with it to life. Even though I only saw a small portion of the farm, I have such a vivid mental image of nearly everything she writes of, from the fields to the truck to the dogs who guard the crops.

Reading through the book gives such newfound appreciation for the Brockman family, Matt, and all the apprentices. To see their work and passion brought to life was truly an inspiration, and nearly enough to make me want to spend a summer on a farm.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. McCumber on September 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Not only is the subject matter incredibly relevant - sustainable living and local produce - but Terra Brockman manages to write in a very engaging way. Were this not a book with such a personal angle for her, I feel that her writing skills would still make for an interesting read.

It's an informative book which also has the occasional humorous anecdote - I'm thinking specifically of the geese that had reached sexual maturity and how the farm had to deal with it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kazi Pitelka on June 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are always farming and vegetable gardening books on my headboard. I inhale them. While I rarely abandon one unfinished, there are definite stand outs in the dozens of histories, personal or family stories and farming politics that i have read. This book shot right to the top, with its evocative prose bringing the rhythms and hard work of the farming life into a clear and beautiful picture. I admit to favoring it partly because the authors ethics are right in line with mine. I loved the historical and literary references and found a wealth of information, ideas and inspiration to add to my 30 years of food growing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Josh on January 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I wouldn't call this a real page turner, but I read "The Seasons on Henry's Farm" straight through. If you want to know how an organic, small-scale family run farm functions, this book includes everything. If you are thinking of working on or starting up a farm I recommend this book; if not, I recommend it anyway as a way to understand where your farmer's market food comes from. Really an enjoyable book, also includes some great recipes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Assiduous on February 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
I received this book as a gift from someone who knows my passion for gardening and sustainable food production. Though the author goes into some unnecessary detail I found the book a very worthy read. I did not care for the small parts of the book written by her nieces and nephews however. Overall the book is an excellent read; plenty of experience and practical knowledge couched in a enjoyable narrative that flows well. Best part? I will be visiting their farm stand this spring!
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