Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer–Another Book Review

by Amber on February 26, 2009

You’ll be dreaming tomatoes after reading Tim Stark’s Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer. Though I’m not certain you’ll be dreaming of your own farm.

Stark’s memoir is a gritty, yet passionate look at the life of an organic farmer. Stark lives the life of someone reaching back into history only to find himself surrounded by a buzzing modern world. He toils haphazardly between the two, loving bits of each in his own way. He farms the land on his boyhood home in Pennsylvania, driving regularly to New York City to deliver his produce to the city’s top chefs.

He learns organic farming methods from Mennonite neighbors, battles modern fertilizing practitioners from his childhood, dines in the fine restaurants where his veggies are sold, learns to forage for wild greens with his global cadre of laborers, and rarely gets a full night’s sleep.

Simply written and hard to put down, Heirloom depicts the challenges organic farmers face, and also the passion that drives them to toil on. It is both glory-filled and heart-breaking simultaneously. Stark illustrates the heroic qualities in all organic farmers and the sacrifices made to eke out a living—and to bring those gorgeous, rainbow heirloom tomatoes to the local farmers’ market.

You’ll be inspired. You’ll laugh at Stark’s wit. And you will possibly cry as the story skips from the Ireland potato blight to the current-day extermination of quality farm land as it turns into the newest big box store.

One thing is certain: your appreciation for organic produce and for your local farmer will be raised.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

The Green Beet August 13, 2011 at 9:48 am

Well that’s a nice little review. Now I want to read that book! Have you read My Empire of Dirt by Manny Howard? Sounds like it may be a similar story: http://www.thegreenbeet.com/books/item/80-my-empire-of-dirt

Thanks for sharing! :)


admin August 13, 2011 at 10:50 am

Thanks, Hannah! It’s way too funny that your name is The Green Beet. I write for another blog, and my pseudonym is “GreenBeet”! :) http://sacrag.com/author/greenbeet We’ve been living parallel lives. It’s about time we met! Thanks for the book idea. I’ll definitely check it out. Sounds like a good one.


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