Synopses & Reviews
In the face of supersizing and a fast-food nation, a growing community of organic farmers and food artisans are producing sustainable nourishment that is respectful to the land and rich in heritage, flavor, and passion. In Fields of Plenty, respected farmer, teacher, and ecology advocate Michael Ableman seeks out these innovative and committed farmers to reveal how the fruits of those who till the soil go beyond taste. From Knolls farm in California, famous for succulent figs tree-ripened to perfection, to an urban farm in Chicago that sustains an entire community, his odyssey takes him to farmers who are trying to answer questions of sustenance philosophically and, most importantly, in practice. Illustrated with evocative color photographs of the land and the people who work it, and accompanied by a bountiful selection of recipes, this beautifully written memoir reveals the power of food as a personal and cultural force.
"Ableman chronicles his three-month journey across the U.S., during which he meets fellow farmers (he's also an author, photographer and executive director of an urban agricultural center in California) and strives to 'reassure [himself] that abundance is enhanced, not sacrificed, by humane and sustainable practices.' He brings along son Aaron; the two leave their family and farm in British Columbia to share wonder and wisdom with farmers nationwide. They stay at farms and learn their hosts' growing methods and family stories. Ableman's musings range from the changing seasons to the political challenges of small-scale farming. Recipes close each chapter; lucky Ableman sampled the dishes in the company of the people who grew the ingredients, from Anthony and Carol Boutard, who grow Charentais melons in Oregon, to Eli Zabar, who has a half-acre of greenhouses atop buildings on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Although this book may be a bit too dense for those not familiar with alternative agriculture, it is easy enough for anyone to read a few sections at a time, taking their pick of memoir, food writing, farming history and technique, and recipes. (Sept. 29)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"America has undeniably become a fast-food nation, with the bulk of our meals coming from cans, freezers or drive-thru windows. In the newest offering from Ableman, he promises that it doesn't have to be this way, delightfully chronicling his quest to experience productive, imaginative, organic American farms.
For three months, as his own harvest was coming to fruition on his farm in British Columbia, the author and his son set off in a VW van on a 12,000 mile journey to farms across the country. The result is an engaging hybrid of travelogue, cookbook and discourse on the new American agrarian movement. Ableman's findings are far more diverse than the bucolic cornfields that might come to mind when thinking about American agriculture. From the poblano chilies that rise out of the New Mexican desert to an urban oasis of tomato plants bordering on Chicago's Cabrini-Green housing project to greenhouses brimming with lettuces along the rocky coastlines of Maine, the farms that he visits paint a vibrant portrait of the American landscape. His prose is as ripe as the summer tomatoes he describes, and the recipes that accompany each chapter are a tempting combination of regional favorites and new flavors.
Above all else, Ableman presents an appealing and optimistic testament to the fact that fresh, organic eating is still very much alive in America." Kirkus Review
In the face of supersizing and a fast-food nation, a growing community of organic farmers and food artisans are producing sustainable nourishment that is respectful to the land and rich in heritage, flavor, and passion. In
Illustrated with evocative color photographs of the land and the people who work it organically, and accompanied by a bountiful selection of recipes, this beautifully written memoir reveals the power of food as a personal and cultural force.
About the Author
Michael Ableman lives and farms on an island in British Columbia with his wife and two sons. He has been featured in National Geographic, on NPR's All Things Considered, and in the Utne Reader. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including Eating Well magazine's Food Hero Award.