Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer Hardcover – July 15, 2008
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
In a back-to-nature move more than a decade ago, Stark uprooted a handful of heirloom tomato seedlings from his Brooklyn brownstone and returned to Eckerton Hill, his Pennsylvanian boyhood home, to harvest two acres of multicolored oddities. From Mennonite country to New York City, using a rusted Toyota pickup, he transported his first auspicious crop of Hill Billies, Tiger Toms and Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifters to the Union Square Greenmarket, becoming the unlikely purveyor of apples to heirloom aficionados and Michelin-starred chefs. An amateur farmer with finite experience in organic farming and a rotating cast of weed-pulling hands, Stark takes on hornworms, groundhogs, cantankerous neighbors and route I-78, producing cover-worthy tomatoes for Gourmet, Brooklyn-bound sugar snaps and chocolate habaneros for discriminating farmers' market cognoscenti. With his produce and dogged perseverance, Stark bridges the gap between New York's posh kitchens and the sun-drenched fields of the rural countryside, commenting along the way on buzzwords like organic, the effects of urban sprawl, and farming's changing landscape. His recounting of fly-by-night agricultural tactics, stomach-turning worries and relief-inducing bumper crops paints a poignant picture of a dwindling form of American life. Through his urbane relationships with the Bouleys and Bouluds and pastoral friendships with the likes of fellow berry, pea shoot and haricot vert producers, he illustrates the unlikely bond between the tomato-laden farm and the urban table. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Lovingly crafted memoir about the author’s days producing organic veggies on his small farm in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Stark’s Eckerton Hill Farm provides fruits and vegetables for a discerning retail clientele at New York’s Union Square Greenmarket. The author also delights the palates of sophisticated foodies via the kitchens of the great chefs at Gotham’s priciest eateries. Readers get an introduction to regular farmer’s market customers and sellers and a field guide to the practices of Stark’s affable Amish and Mennonite neighbors. Other aspects of the author’s cultivation surface in references to diverse literary sources from Cheever to Crèvecoeur. It all combines to make entertaining light fare. A fresh writer’s salad garnished with an colorful dressing for foodies with a yen for sensual comestibles." --Kirkus Reviews
"Fourteen years ago, with zero farming experience, Tim Stark started 3,000 heirloom tomato plants in his Brooklyn apartment then transferred them to the family acreage in Pennsylvania. The multi-colored fruit of his labor...were a hit, snapped up by amateur and pro chefs at NYC's greenmarket. With succulent wit, he conveys the poetry of a well-grown tomato." --Entertainment Weekly
"In a “back-to-nature” move more than a decade ago, Stark uprooted a handful of heirloom tomato seedlings from his Brooklyn brownstone and returned to Eckerton Hill, his Pennsylvanian boyhood home, to harvest two acres of multicolored oddities. With his produce and dogged perseverance, Stark bridges the gap between New York's posh kitchens and the sun-drenched fields of the rural countryside, commenting along the way on buzzwords like organic, the effects of urban sprawl, and farming's changing landscape. His recounting of fly-by-night agricultural tactics, stomach-turning worries and relief-inducing bumper crops paints a poignant picture of a dwindling form of American life. Through his urbane relationships with the Bouleys and Bouluds and pastoral friendships with the likes of fellow berry, pea shoot and haricot vert producers, he illustrates the unlikely bond between the tomato-laden farm and the urban table." --Publishers Weekly
"Get a down-to-earth look at the farm fresh fad in this delicious and revealing memoir from a greenmarket superstar whose famous tomatoes are coveted by top chefs." --Good Housekeeping
Advance Praise for Heirloom
“Like a vine-ripened tomato still warm from the sun, Heirloom is a most satisfying experience. Tim Stark is a natural-born storyteller—funny, poignant, and unerringly authentic. Charming with a capital C.”
—John Grogan, author of Marley & Me and former editor of Organic Gardening
“Every year, Tim Stark’s gorgeous tomatoes serve as the sign that summer has arrived. Tim has put as much craft into this book as he puts into his annual harvests.”
—Daniel Boulud, Chef / Restaurateur
“Tim Stark is the poet laureate of the nightshade and of Eastern Pennsylvania; his tomatoes and peppers burst on the mind’s palate as his native landscape comes to shaley, fecund life under his hands. Heirloom is clearly descended from Montaigne and M. F. K. Fisher; it takes its place grandly among the literature of passionate obsessives.”
—Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man
“This is the Tim Stark I've known for more than a decade: one-fourth farmer, one-fourth storyteller, and half mad. He tells it like it is.”
—Dave Pasternack, Chef / Owner of Esca and author of The Young Man and the Sea
“Successful farming in the twenty-first century is about connecting with all sorts of people, and Tim Stark’s gift is his ability to convey these connections. Whether he is bantering with a farmer's market customer or accepting a free meal from a five-star chef, the spark of necessary human interaction comes through effortlessly in his prose.”
—Dan Sullivan, senior editor of The Rodale Institute
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more
Top customer reviews
Stark confronts an endless succession of obstacles and problems -- ignorance, weather, inadequate and balky equipment, lack of ready cash, insufficient labor, an obstreperous jerk of a neighbor, and insects, deer, and gophers -- each of which he somehow overcomes, or circumvents, or, at a minimum, learns to live with. Thankfully (for me, at least), Stark does not dwell on tedious agricultural details. This is not a gardener's journal; if anything, it probably is of greater interest to the appreciative consumer of organic farming than the practitioner. Interesting subjects discussed at some length are the Amish and Mennonites of the area, the farmer/chef relationships that have developed and undergird some of the most noted restaurants in NYC, and the bleak future for similar agricultural operations catering to urban markets, due to shrinking affordable farmland.
Stark's writing is above average, occasionally quite good, but it is uneven and at times a little disjointed and unnecessarily confusing. The last chapter in particular seems rushed. Stark should have given the book one more thorough review and revision, but I suspect that would have been asking too much of his rather restless personality. Still, HEIRLOOM is an enjoyable sketch of an interesting slice of contemporary Americana that can be read in a day or two.