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Hay Fever: How Chasing a Dream on a Vermont Farm Changed My Life [Hardcover]

Angela Miller , Ralph Gardner Jr
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

9 April 2010
The compelling, funny story of a high–powered professional’s life–changing journey from Manhattan big cheese to Vermont goat cheesemaker In the tradition of food memoirs like Under the Tuscan Sun and A Year in Provence, Hay Fever tells the story of New York City literary agent Angela Miller and how looking for tranquility on a Vermont farm turned into an eye–opening, life–changing experience. Seeking solace in the midst of midlife strife brought on by family stress and a high–stakes career, Miller and her husband bought a farm in rural Vermont. But what started as a part time “project” turned into a full–blown obsession and culinary passion that not only changed their lives forever, but also resulted in some of America’s best cheeses, prestigious awards, and media fame. Today, cheeses from Consider Bardwell Farm are featured at some of the country’s best restaurants, including Jean Georges, Daniel, and The French Laundry. •    For cheese lovers and would–be farmers, it’s an inside look at the everyday operation of a successful and growing dairy farm •    Author Angela Miller, literary agent in New York City, has won prestigious awards for her cheeses and has been featured in such publications as the Boston Globe , the New York Times , Travel & Leisure , and Martha Stewart Living •    More than a memoir—the book includes recipes from the author and top food personalities like Mark Bittman and Jean–Georges Vongerichten Hay Fever is an inspiring and entertaining memoir that will whet the appetite of food lovers and would–be farmers from coast to coast.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (9 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470398337
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470398333
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 15.9 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,004,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Inside Flap

Do you dream of escaping the big city for a bucolic farm in the country? To grow vegetables, raise a few animals, and maybe even learn to make cheese? It would be a relaxing, simple life . . . wouldn’t it? Hay Fever tells the story of one prominent Manhattan professional who gave it a shot—and discovered that the “simple life” is often anything but. Seeking escape and diversion from family pressures, a demanding career, and an unfulfilling social life, Angela Miller and her husband set their sites on a charming nineteenth–century farm in Vermont. They got much more than they bargained for. What began as an innocent project to restore their new country home became a full–blown obsession that led to a successful artisanal cheese–making business—all while Miller kept her job in New York City. Starting with a small herd of goats (the “girls”), Consider Bardwell Farm has grown to become one of the country’s best artisanal cheese producers—but with plenty of hard work and minor disasters along the way. Today, Miller’s cheeses are served in many of the finest restaurants, including Daniel and The French Laundry. This inspiring and funny tale reveals the inner workings of a growing, award–winning dairy farm and the painstaking effort and attention to detail that goes into every bite of cheese. For the cheese cravings the book is bound to stir up, Miller includes a handful of her own delicious recipes and those of food celebrities like Mark Bittman and Jean–Georges Vongerichten. Miller is constantly asked: How do you sustain both a challenging career in the city and life in the country while ultimately making such great cheese? Hay Fever is her personal, entertaining story—perhaps a cautionary tale for some, but for many others just the motivation needed to explore a new culinary adventure, form a closer connection to food, and ultimately pursue a second or third “act” in life that is more fulfilling than simple “work.”

From the Back Cover

"Angela is both a Vermont neighbor and long–time friend, and her conversion from city girl to cheesemaker extraordinaire is one of the great success stories of our part of the world. Besides, the pleasure I get from driving by her old farm, which has been lovingly restored and put back into operation, is a pleasure beyond words." — Christopher Kimball, America′s Test Kitchen Founder

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this Book! 16 Aug 2010
Format:Hardcover
Hat's off to Angela Miller and her double life as literary book agent to goat farmer. A wonderful read of her city life to country life. I met Angela in my little lampshade shop many years ago and she mentioned she had just bought a farm on the other side of town and thought she might try making goats cheese. I had no doubt that Angela would follow through with her dream. Read the book and follow Angela and her husband Russell Glover and crew at the farm though a year at the farm. Oh, how far they have come! A must read for those wishing for move to the country or only if you love great cheese.
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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If this is the future of Farming... we're in a LOT of trouble 7 April 2011
By A. Gift For You - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
First and foremost this review won't be popular because I've noticed a lot of time a bad review for a book tends to get "unhelpful" votes when I think a lot of those people just disagree with the reviewer and so the review is unpopular.

That said: For someone who is a fan of Mother Earth News, or MORE Countryside Magazine I don't think they would like this book. I think if you live in a big city and enjoy name dropping and the hobby farming idea then you may enjoy this book.

This is a typical story of a Manhattanite that wants to get away on weekends and isn't this DIFFERENT from what all my friends have. She name drops in almost EVERY paragraph. And you will find some sort of name dropping certainly on every page. Again that may play well in the big cities but us dumb country folk just don't care about the people you know or things you own and the names mean NOTHING to us. It just seems she BUYS everything that she needs. I don't see her ever working things out on her own. Also I get the feeling she may have written this (well, had someone write it for her) because being a literary agent she probably HATED seeing all the new books coming out lately from writers who went to the country and she's been doing for 8 years. She might even of had friends talk her into writing it. Don't know... and it doesn't really matter. But instead of learning to make fantastic goat cheese she goes an hires someone who already does and now he's using her goat milk instead of someone elses. And she points out as much as she can that it is award winning goat cheese. Again, that's all great and everything but anyone can win an award if they pay enough to get there.

Being a novice homesteader, and trying to learn as much from other people's experiences as I can, I'm getting to the end of homesteading books available either on line or in the library. I'll pull pretty much anything off the shelf on the subject. But this one went back quickly. There are just better stories written MUCH better than this out there. The Dirty Life, is a good one. Up Trunket Road, another.

I'm not jealous of this woman nor do I hold a grudge against her I just don't think this is all that great of a story, nor is it written very well. But I live in a more rural area and not New York so I don't know what it's like in that hustle and bustle world. But I don't think she truly knows what it's like in this one either. I think a MUCH better book might have come out from the workers that are at the farm and doing the work everyday. I would MUCH rather hear their stories.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Praise for Angela Miller and her dedication to sustainable farming 28 May 2010
By George Bailey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
First of all, I have to say that two of the previous reviewers appear to have a personal grudge of some sort against the author of the book. Their comments about her being unappreciative of the farm help are completely unfounded. She has many good things to say about all of them and the idea that she takes the credit for Peter Dixon's cheese making skills is absurd. "I started looking upon Peter Dixon as a star. Over the last two years, he had envisioned, planned, and crafted the winning cheeses. And he'd trained a cadre of cheese makers who could follow his lead." (pg. 102) This doesn't sound like someone who gives no credit to the hired help.

Secondly, whatever one might think of Angela Miller's farming credentials or unfair advantages as an upper class Manhattan-ite, she and her husband deserve loads of credit for having enough vision, passion and energy to take a crumbling, overgrown farmstead and, rather than split it up into housing lots for a quick and easy return on their investment, do as much as they could to retain its historic and local value by not only making sure it stays a farm, but by restoring it to its original purpose.
Farms all over this country have been dying in droves for the past 30 years and it certainly isn't the fault of people like Angela Miller. Rather, you can blame it directly on the agricultural policies of the good old USA, which reward and subsidize corporate owned farms and agribusinesses and punish small, family owned farmers. If anything, by providing a better market for cow's milk to local farmers like Lisa Kaiman than they would get if they just shipped their milk to the local milk cooperative, she is supporting local sustainable agriculture.

Thirdly, this book offers an in depth glimpse to non farm readers of how much work it takes to produce a high quality, small scale food product. Sure, you could get your cheese much more cheaply at Wal mart, but who are you supporting with that kind of a purchase? And, what is in it? I appreciate that this book lets people know that they have a real choice in their food purchases.

All in all, an enjoyable, informative read and one that I recommend.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book! 29 May 2010
By PSL - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Although I don't know much about goats or making cheese, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the journey that this author takes. I have a new appreciation for the work necessary to start this type of a business and found it interesting to read about all of the different aspects that I had never considered. I have to disagree with two other reviewers, as I found the book to be very well written. The thing that I found most interesting is Angela Miller's ability to juggle the responsiblities of two such very different occupations at the same time. If you ever dream about taking a chance and trying something completely new - this book will be an inspiration!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hay Fever, Chasing a Dream on a Vermont Farm Changed My Life 31 May 2010
By judy lake - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Not many fancy city slickers would spend the night in their car between night shifts during kidding season! I met Angela many years ago in my little lampshade shop in Pawlet Village. She mentioned that she had just bought a farm on the other side of town and thought she would like to try making goats cheese. I had just meet Angela, but my gut instinct was that she would follow through with her dream. Miller and Glover have accomplished miracles with a big old dairy barn and lots of hard, hard work; you just wouldn't believe what they started with and how far they have come.

I was amazed to learn how many variables there are to making world class cheese; I will appreciate their delicious cheeses even more. Those of us that live here are thrilled to have The Consider Bardwell Farm so close by and proud of their deserved success. Miller is a lady farmer in a place that is usually reserved for men, but life in the publishing world most likely prepared her for just about anything. A love of the land, appreciation of the past, and challenges ahead; hats off to Hay Fever.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hay Fever - Cheesy Success 14 Jun 2010
By G. M. Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I totally agree with George. There is obviously a personal agenda with regard to the two people who belittled Angela Miller & her Husband's efforts to introduce and renovate a farm which had not been working for sometime, and bring jobs to the area. She certainly pays credit to those on her team, and sets out the reasons for having to let people go, or why they can no longer do business with her. I thought the book was interesting, and she allowed the reader to see not only her great business accumine, but also her weaker moments when dealing with her goats, who she obviously loves. I would like to compliment angela, her Husband, and her great team of workers for making this not only an informative book, but an insight into the workings of a small, but successful venture.
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