Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Two For Tuesday: Two Books I'm Reading, Ok 3

I'm reading three memoirs about the farming life right now. Sometimes my reading aligns in a theme, and this is one of those times. I guess this type of book appeals to me because I grew up with cows (Bessie, Charlie and their daughter Daisy) and horses (Sugar, Misty, PeeWee, and others) and bees and dogs and rabbits out in the country. I've said many times that the absence of neighborhood kids and the room to explore and roam shaped me into a writer. While I didn't know that then, I look back at it fondly now. These books put me in touch with that. But don't get me wrong, I don't want that life now. I may like reading about it, but I have to have a Starbucks within seven minutes of me!

The Blueberry Years by Jim Minick

I had the pleasure of meeting Jim at SIBA in September. He's a genuinely nice guy. Of course I had to read his book after meeting him! Here's a description of the book:

The Blueberry Years is a mouth-watering and delightful memoir based on Jim Minick’s trials and tribulations as an organic blueberry farmer. This story of one couple and one farm shows how our country’s appetite for cheap food affects how that food is grown, who does or does not grow it, and what happens to the land. But this memoir also calls attention to the fragile nature of our global food system and our nation’s ambivalence about what we eat and where it comes from.

Readers of Michael Polland and Barbara Kingsolver will savor the tale of Jim’s farm and the exploration of larger issues facing agriculture in the United States—like the rise of organic farming, the plight of small farmers, and the loneliness common in rural America. Ultimately, The Blueberry Years tells the story of a place shaped by a young couple’s dream, and how that dream ripened into one of the mid-Atlantic’s first certified-organic, pick-your-own blueberry farms.

At her husband’s prompting, suburban mom and New York career woman Susan McCorkindale agreed to give up her stressful six-figure job. Together, they headed down south to a 500-acre beef farm, and never looked back. Well, he didn’t look back. She did. A lot.

From playing “spot the religious billboard” on the drive to rural Virginia, to adapting to a world without Starbucks, to planning bright-orange hunter-resistant wardrobes for the kids (“We moved here to get away from the madness of Manhattan only to risk getting popped on our own property”), this is her hilarious account of how a city girl came to love—or at least tolerate—country life.

The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

Single, thirtysomething, working as a writer in New York City, Kristin Kimball was living life as an adventure. But she was beginning to feel a sense of longing for a family and for home. When she interviewed a dynamic young farmer, her world changed. Kristin knew nothing about growing vegetables, let alone raising pigs and cattle and driving horses. But on an impulse, smitten, if not yet in love, she shed her city self and moved to five hundred acres near Lake Champlain to start a new farm with him. The Dirty Life is the captivating chronicle of their first year on Essex Farm, from the cold North Country winter through the following harvest season—complete with their wedding in the loft of the barn.
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Zibilee said...

All of these look so good, but I really am excited about The Blueberry Years. I have that one on the top of my stack and must get to it soon. It's calling me!

Marybeth said...

But of course Heather! That's because we're like close personal friends with Tom-- I mean, we have had dinner with him after all. :)

Ellen - SkoMomma said...

These look great! My library has The Dirty Life, but not the other two.. but I did load the Kindle samples to read. I love when you tell us what you are reading, I almost always love your suggestions.
And I'm super-duper thrilled that my local library has your newest book - I just picked it up yesterday and can't wait to start - of course, first I have to finish The 19th Wife that I started last week... :-)

Candice said...

I am so intrigued by these selections! "The Blueberry Years" takes place in the same county that I live in :-) I love local treasures. Thank you for posting this!

Also, please tell me how you find time for so much reading with such a full life. Thanks again.

Robin said...

Hi MB, these all do sounds great...especially now that I have my own little farm! Thanks for the suggestions!

Rachel Olsen said...

Mail them to me when you are done. :)

I wonder if Jim's book would work as one of the texts for my food class. Hummm.