Posted by: Robert Janssen | October 11, 2010

“Fields of Plenty” Michael Ableman (2005)

Ableman chronicles his three-month journey across the U.S., during which he meets fellow farmers 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.


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