Growing Tomorrow By Forrest Pritchard
(The Experiment, $24.95)
The opening pages of Growing Tomorrow by Forrest Pritchard show a map of the United States with drawings at eighteen farm locations, a glimpse of the farm-to-table, page-by-page journey readers are about to take.
Following over 150 years of family farming–and against the recommendations of local farmers–not only did Forrest farm, but he wrote a best selling chronicle of his first journey in his New York Times -bestseller Gaining Ground. Along the way, he plotted out the sixteen farms, two bee wranglers, and one fishing vessel all selling directly to the public to be featured in Growing Tomorrow. Forrest, a 7th generation Virginia farmer, and farmer/photographer, Molly Peterson, traveled by car coast to coast for one year speaking to the farmers who became part of Growing Tomorrow‘s “dream team” of farmers, connected through the common thread of being sustainable: environmentally, economically and generationally. Molly was there to beautifully photograph and capture each farm.
When talking about tomato varieties, farmer Hui Newcomb says she asks the folks what they’re going to use them for and then points to the right tomato. “A name can’t tell you much, you know, but a farmer can.” Ecoganic factoids are scattered through the farm stories in the form of “Farming Wisdom” and “Did You Know?” excerpts. Some samples: parsley helps stimulate the immune system, is a great anti-inflammatory and superb natural source of Vitamin C; and “Composted, it takes a banana peel three to four weeks to revert to soil. A plastic bottle? 450 years.”
Each farm story is a standalone chapter profiling the farmers, their families, farmland crops, and their lives, and makes for a read you’re sure to enjoy. Eighteen fascinating stories detail setbacks and failures, risks and how they meet the challenges, and why farming is worth it. Additionally, Growing Tomorrow also features fifty favorite recipes: each farmer contributed several recipes utilizing his or her bounty, with directions for how to showcase/cook their produce, from Pickled Cherries to Red Chili Con Carne to Spring Dandelion Salad (with a warning not to use any dandelions that have been sprayed with weed-killing chemicals). Included with each recipe are notes, numerical instructions and a delicious photograph.
Growing Tomorrow is a behind-the-scenes look at contemporary farming in America, highlighting the “extraordinary sustainable farmers who are changing the way we eat.” Perhaps even more exciting, the “Where To Find The Farmers” section includes the addresses, phone numbers, websites, emails, area farmers’ markets, storefronts, CSA shares, roadside stands, merchants and restaurants where readers can experience the fruit of these farmers’ labor. YUM!! Savor the “dream team!”
For over thirty years, Lois Friedman has been immersed in food culture and cookbooks. She has written “Read It And Eat” previews of cookbooks for The Desert Leaf and other local publications, done guest presentations at Canyon Ranch, hosted the Omaha Library Read It And Eat Culinary Conference, taught cooking classes and demonstrations, and now brings her expertise to her Read It And Eat blog for Edible Baja Arizona.