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Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land Hardcover – January 17, 2011
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Successful baker, chef, and restaurateur Timmermeister�s leap from food preparer to food producer should not have been a large one, yet the steps he took to become a working farmer were monumental. Starting with the purchase of a modest but woefully overgrown tract of land on Washington�s Vashon Island, Timmermeister quickly became ensconced�some would say mired�in the vagaries of self-sufficiency. As he set out to transform his acreage into a viable farm, raising vegetables, fruit, livestock, and even bees, Timmermeister had more will than wisdom, and he recounts his failures and setbacks with disarming honesty. Yet though his hodgepodge of animals and equipment was assembled in a haphazard fashion by relying both on the kindness of strangers and the miracle of Craigslist, somehow it all works. Think of it as the Little Farm That Could. With pluck, luck, and admirable determination, Timmermeister not only manages to supply his paying customers but, more importantly, succeeds in feeding his soul. --Carol Haggas
What sets this book apart is its practical, calm, confidence-inspiring tone. The message is: Farming may not be easy, but just do it. — Los Angeles Times
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Top customer reviews
This is not good animal husbandry, plain and simple, letting your bees suffer and perish simply because it's easier than working to keep them alive. I will not be reading the rest of the book, and I will not support any of his other publications.
However, as a fellow pastry chef, I found that his adoration and appreciation for food to be immediately apparent and I liked him for it. Describing the simple joys of boiling down apple juice for redux, making his own butter, and collecting honey made me remember why I went to culinary school and why I still cook whenever I have a chance.
It's important to know what goes in to growing our food and to stop settling on over-processed, chemically-enhanced junk. I would suggest this book to anyone interested in the Slow Food movement, farm living, or cuisine.
As for the critics on his beekeeping methods, I can only assume he has addressed the issue with his bees dying each year. If not, it will not stop me from appreciating this book and what he is trying to do on his land. While I do not keep bees, I can accept the fact that there is a learning curve involved with starting a farm. Animals, insects, and plants will inevitably get killed in the learning process. I would rather see some animals sacrificed in the process of achieving the ability to live off the land than have someone not try at all. I would imagine that many beekeepers (or any animal owners) have made mistakes at the beginning while learning the processes required to keep bees. I am supportive of people trying something new, especially when what he or she is trying to do will ultimately help the land and the community in which they live. There is no doubt that his land and community is better off with his efforts than without, even if it comes at the expense of some initial sacrifice.
My favorite chapter was the slaughtering of the pigs. I have never slaughtered an animal. The idea of killing an animal I raised does not appeal to me. The respect and passion the author demonstrates for the animal changed the way I viewed the slaughter process. By no means am I now ready to go out and butcher our hens but his passion and respect for the animals are touching.
Perhaps I am partial because what the author has accomplished (buying and living mostly off the land) is my dream. Even for those whose dreams vary, I still recommend the book.