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Book Report: Heirloom, Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer

December 13th, 2009

“What taste I got of the kind of farming I would eventually embrace came on the mornings I helped Jimmy and Mildred King, the couple from Mississippi who have moved into Milt’s farmhouse, clear a tree-strewn patch of rocky, sloped Eckerton land. With nothing more than a shovel, they had turned every square inch of the half acre their house was situated on into a lush vegetable garden. But before Jinny could get this shovel to break the surface of the ground we made available to him, he had to clear out hundreds of trees, stumps, and rocks the size of radial tires. It was Mildred and Jimmy who first turned me on to fresh-out-of-the-ground carrots, sweet potatoes in need of no sugar, tender okra, lettuce with identifiable flavor, peas direct from Valhalla. Mildred’s basement full of canned vegetables, too. Pickled garden-fresh beets were my favorite. I would slurp the purple vinegar from the softened nuggets and then devour the tangy earth-flavored flesh. Mildred gave me some jars of pickled beets in exchange for my labor.”

-Tim Stark, Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer
Since we talked about winter reading lists yesterday, I thought I’d recommend adding Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer to your list. It’s a fantastic book about gardening and life. It’s filled with lots of laughs and a few touching moments. Tim, the author, fell in love with heirloom tomatoes while living in New York, these tomatoes took up all the space in his tiny apartment and finally the landlord made him move them. He planted on his family’s land and ended up with a glut of tomatoes, which he decided to sell at the farmer’s market. This book will be a wonderful read for anyone that enjoys gardening. Tim stories of weeding, groundhogs, tractors and mud will lift your spirits during these cold winter months when working in the garden is impossible.

What kind of books do you usually read in the winter? Gardening books, or novels?

3 Comments to “Book Report: Heirloom, Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer”
  1. MAYBELLINE on December 13, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    I really enjoy magazines; but they all seem to be going the way of the dinosaurs. I’ll have to vote for garden books.
    .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..Chiot’s Run =-.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  2. Chicago Mike on December 13, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    I read a mix of books.

    Some gardening (lots of catalogs), some novels, and I try to find places where these two overlap, even incidentally and in unusual ways, like World Made By Hand by Kunstler.

    This book looks great. I am going to pick it up tomorrow.
    .-= Chicago Mike´s last blog ..Candied Citrus Peel =-.

    Reply to Chicago Mike's comment

  3. Kim on December 15, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Sounds like a great book. I love all sorts of books but really enjoy books about farming, agriculture, homesteading. It is just finding the time to read them.

    Reply to Kim's comment

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Reading & Watching

Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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