radfemme, April 8, 2011 (view all comments by radfemme)
Mmm. A tall, handsome, maniacal farmer snags a city-slicker lady who, even after reading her memoir, seems like the unlikeliest of candidates for Farmer of the Year. It's heavy on the real dirt of farming, including passages thick with jargon that I found irritating, but very sincere and totally effective in waking up other citified folks from their I-wanna-be-a-farmer fantasies...though it didn't do as much for my desire to find a farmer-lover!
Kate Gardoqui, January 2, 2011 (view all comments by Kate Gardoqui)
The only bad thing about this book was that it was so hard to put down. Kimball's voice moves gracefully from witty and blunt to poetic as she describes her adventures, discoveries, humiliations and accomplishments as a New York City writer transforming herself to organic farmer. Part love story, part coming-of-age story, part meditation on glorious food and its dirty origins, this book is many things but never boring. I've already started using parts of it with my eleventh and twelfth grade AP English students, who share my rave review.
Denise Morland, November 2, 2010 (view all comments by Denise Morland)
Kristin Kimball was living the high, city life, partying late into the night, wearing the latest fashions. A journalist in her mid thirties, she was yearning for something different, something that felt more like home. When she is sent to write an article on a young man running a local farm she finds what she is looking for in both the man and his dreams of a home on a farm. Soon the two of them are ensconced on a 500 acre farm trying to realize Mark's vision of a farm that would provide families with all the food they need for a year. Sound daunting? Raising chickens and cows, milking, making cheese, growing vegetables, sugaring maple trees, harvesting and marketing all that to a skeptical, small town? Now consider that the farm is run-down and long unused, they hired no help the first year, and they did almost all the heavy work with a team of draft horses! As you can imagine, many adventures, tragedies and triumphs came out of that one year.
Kristin Kimball does an admirable job recounting the year that changed her life so drastically. She has a very straightforward and honest way of expressing what it was like to fall in love with Mark and his way of life. She never glosses over the incredible amount of work and the tough emotions she went through. The book is fun too. Its a real pleasure to discover the secrets of farming alongside Kristin as she shares the experience of the first calf born, picking out seeds to buy in the winter, and eating the first new potatoes out in the field. I really enjoyed this book!
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Scribner Book Company -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Kimball chucked life as a Manhattan journalist to start a cooperative farm in upstate New York with a self-taught New Paltz farmer she had interviewed for a story and later married. The Harvard-educated author, in her 30s, and Mark, also college educated and resolved to 'live outside of the river of consumption,' eventually found an arable 500-acre farm on Lake Champlain, first to lease then to buy. In this poignant, candid chronicle by season, Kimball writes how she and Mark infused new life into Essex Farm, and lost their hearts to it. By dint of hard work and smart planning--using draft horses rather than tractors to plow the five acres of vegetables, and raising dairy cows, and cattle, pigs, and hens for slaughter--they eventually produced a cooperative on the CSA model, in which members were able to buy a fully rounded diet. To create a self-sustaining farm was enormously ambitious, and neighbors, while well-meaning, expected them to fail. However, the couple, relying on Mark's belief in a 'magic circle' of good luck, exhausted their savings and set to work. Once June hit, there was the 100-day growing season and an overabundance of vegetables to eat, and no end to the dirty, hard, fiercely satisfying tasks, winningly depicted by Kimball. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
IACP Cookbook Award Winner in Food Matters
Biodynamic farming, with its focus on ecological sustainability, has emerged as the gold standard in the organic gardening movement. Daron Joffe (known as Farmer D) has made it his mission to empower, educate, and inspire people to become conscientious consumers, citizens, and stewards of the land. In this engaging call to action, Farmer D teaches us to not only create sustainable gardens but also to develop a more holistic, community-minded approach to how our food is grown and how we live our lives in balance with nature. Illustrated with photographs of gardens designed by Farmer D as well as line drawings, the book is an indispensable resource packed with advice on establishing a biodynamic garden, composting, soil composition and replenishment, controlandshy;ling pests and disease, cooperative gardening practices, and even creating delicious meals.
by Simon and Schuster,
From a writer who traded her single life in the big city to marry a farmer, The Dirty Life is a chronicle of a year on their sustainable farm.
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