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The Seasons on Henry's Farm: A Year of Food and Life on a Sustainable Farm

The Seasons on Henry's Farm: A Year of Food and Life on a Sustainable Farm [Kindle Edition]

Terra Brockman , Deborah Madison

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Product Description


"The Seasons on Henry's Farm, a book to be reckoned with, lifts you high enough to witness the tremendous possibilities people are capable of expressing in their working lives--in this case, through farming. If you're a fan of Aldo Leopold, or have long suspected that time-honored methods of farming are best for the earth (and our taste buds) and require intelligence and thoroughness exceeding the levels demanded by most occupations, you will discover here that your suspicions are well founded.... The Seasons on Henry's Farm is an exhilarating story of observation. It's a humbling one, too, for few of us can imagine mustering the endurance and precision needed to farm this deeply. But that Henry and his familial band of followers can and do, again and again, makes the world of the farm more than a dream or an ideal. It's a great encouraging kick in the pants for all of us, regardless of how we spend our time, or what we do, to achieve such excellence in full consciousness of all its complexities and consequences. This book tells a tale as raw and vivid as one could hope for, while gently imparting what we need to know about the soil, plants, and animals that sustain us." from the foreword by Deborah Madison "Here's what you get when the farmer's sister turns out to be a masterful writer: a compelling argument for rebuilding our nation's food security that is threaded within a lyrical, funny, suspenseful narrative of life on her brother's Illinois farm. The cycles of the agrarian calendar are so vividly described within these pages that I was sure I would wake up the next morning with sore muscles."Sandra Steingraber, author of "Living Downstream" and "Having Faith" "Terra Brockman's new book is such a delightful synergy of poetic inspiration and realistic descriptions of life on a farm. Here is everything from the joy and satisfaction of growing garlic and raising turkeys, to tending fruit trees and growing vegetables. At the same time, every f

Product Description

Henry's Farm is in central Illinois, some of the richest farming land in the world. There, Henry Brockman and his family — five generations of farmers, including sister Terra — farm in a way that produces healthy, nutritious food without despoiling the land. Terra Brockman tells their story in the form of a yearlong diary/memoir — with recipes — that takes readers through each season of life on the farm. Studded with vignettes, photographs, family stories, and illustrations of the farm's vivid plant life, the book is a one-of-a-kind treasure that will appeal to readers of Michael Pollan, E. B. White, Gretel Ehrlich, and Sandra Steingraber. The book opens a window into what sustainable farming really entails and why it is vital and relevant to everyone who eats. Though rooted in the rolling oak-hickory hills and fertile fields and flood plains of the Mackinaw River Valley, the book ranges widely, incorporating literary, scientific, and culinary reflections occasioned by the week-by-week events of farm life.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5957 KB
  • Print Length: 301 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1572841036
  • Publisher: Agate Surrey (28 April 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003P9XC30
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,106,706 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  106 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you didn't know you wanted to know about organic farming 5 Nov 2009
By Nancy O. - Published on
If you're a typical city/suburban resident like myself who has purchased "organic" vegetables at the standard grocery store only to find they were a total waste of money, this book explains why. Terra enlightens the non-farmer with incredible detail, yet in a manner that makes the reading pure pleasure. The Brockmans are clearly a highly intellectual family who fore go the city life for the simple life. A life of hard work, but more rewards than most of us can imagine. It's such a pleasure to read, the fact that you are learning about farming is truly secondary to the story.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, edifying, thoughtful, funny book ... 7 Jan 2010
By Sarz Maxwell MD - Published on
I'm so intrigued by how the entire book was woven around a skeleton formed by several dimensions of time: seasons, crops, generations, and human mortality. The element of time was suggested by everything about the book -- the photos, Hiroko's beautiful pen-and-ink drawings, the nature of the recipes, the inclusion of bits from the various generations. I was always aware of time, which gave the book -- or at least this reader -- a sense of urgency, an awareness of the passage of time, assuaged by a comforting reminder of the circle of immortality, the timelessness of the Earth. This book made me want to DO.

I loved the interspersing of different styles. A description of planting garlic leads naturally to the recipe for "Pockets full of garlic soup", and thence to musings about the importance of timing, overlayered with rueful complaints about aching, aging knees in contrast to those of Kazami, "a compact, curly-headed, 13-year-old package of fearless life force hurtling down the hillside on a blur of bicycle". Later, scholarly discussions of the enduring dangers of chemical fertilizers (the author's father is an environmental geneticist) are woven into an attempt to capture the meaning of wabi-sabi, a Japanese Zen concept that the author relates to rural community life, thanking the hens for their eggs, and macabre stories told to grandchildren to make them behave.

This is a particularly good book to give as a gift. It is wonderful to use for morning meditations (especially since it's laid out chronologically over a year). It's very funny, and thoughtful, and loving. I've given this book to many, and treasure my own.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid, beautiful, and eye-opening 18 Oct 2009
By April Friend - Published on
After spending most of my summer buying Henry's produce and Teresa's fruits and herbs, I was thrilled to be able to attend their annual Potluck and Tour in early October. While I was there, I picked up a copy of this book, and have not put it down since. I'm on my third reading, and it's become my way to soothe my mind before heading off to slumber.

The quality of Henry's produce is nearly unmatched - and certainly anything I've had in the past pales in comparison. Seeing the farm offered one perspective; reading about it brought an entirely new one. Terra is a remarkably gifted writer, bringing the farm and all that comes with it to life. Even though I only saw a small portion of the farm, I have such a vivid mental image of nearly everything she writes of, from the fields to the truck to the dogs who guard the crops.

Reading through the book gives such newfound appreciation for the Brockman family, Matt, and all the apprentices. To see their work and passion brought to life was truly an inspiration, and nearly enough to make me want to spend a summer on a farm.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I never put it down... 14 Jan 2010
By Josh - Published on
I wouldn't call this a real page turner, but I read "The Seasons on Henry's Farm" straight through. If you want to know how an organic, small-scale family run farm functions, this book includes everything. If you are thinking of working on or starting up a farm I recommend this book; if not, I recommend it anyway as a way to understand where your farmer's market food comes from. Really an enjoyable book, also includes some great recipes.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorougly enjoyable! 23 Sep 2009
By D. McCumber - Published on
Not only is the subject matter incredibly relevant - sustainable living and local produce - but Terra Brockman manages to write in a very engaging way. Were this not a book with such a personal angle for her, I feel that her writing skills would still make for an interesting read.

It's an informative book which also has the occasional humorous anecdote - I'm thinking specifically of the geese that had reached sexual maturity and how the farm had to deal with it!
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