Knowledge Rich Ranching
By Allan Nation
Knowledge Rich Ranching is not a how-to book on raising cattle. It is a book on how the cattle business works. It has not been sanitized nor edited by Ms. Rosy Scenario. It is about the way things really are. It is about fear and greed, and how the commodity business eats alive the naive and unaware. In today’s market, it is knowledge that separates the rich from the rest.
Knowledge Rich Ranching is packed with guidelines for how to read and profit from the upside-down swings of the cattle cycle. It describes various bookkeeping methods and tax tips; covers cost cutting to eliminate profit leaks; reveals the secrets of high profit grass farms and ranches; details strategies for using Management-intensive Grazing in humid and arid climates as well as during adverse weather conditions. And it explains family and business structure with suggestions for estate planning to keep today’s ranch or grass farm viable and profitable for future generations.
While focused on raising cattle, the principles in Knowledge Rich Ranching apply equally to producers of other livestock enterprises—sheep, in particular, which run backwards to the cattle cycle and can add a complementary enterprise to an existing cattle operation. Anyone who has profit as his or her goal will benefit from this book. It is the first to cover the business management principles of grassland farming and ranching.
Available in: Paperback
No Risk Ranching
By Greg Judy
Greg Judy was forced to liquidate his cow herd to pay debt in 1996. By the end of the following year he was dead broke and figured the family farm was history. A quote from Allan Nation, editor of The Stockman Grass Farmer magazine changed his whole view of ranching. Nation said, “Your sole purpose should be not to own the land, but to make a living from the land.”
Inspired by that approach, Judy started looking for idle, non-developed pastureland. By focusing on leasing rather than owning land, his grazing operation grew from 40 stockers to 1100 head. By custom grazing on leased land he was able to pay his entire farm and home loan within three years. Today he has four farms and leases 12.
No Risk Ranching, Custom Grazing on Leased Land describes how he found and managed his first and subsequent leases. He offers a detailed guide for other graziers to follow on how to find idle land to lease; calculate the cost of a lease; draft and write a land lease contract (with examples included); develop good water and portable fencing on leased land; promote wildlife and improve timber stands; keep accurate records and more.
No Risk Ranching was written to help other graziers from making the same mistakes Judy made. He writes, “I am convinced that in the USA our pastures are one of our most underutilized natural resources. I am not against land ownership. I just feel like it is an awful hardship on a new blooming grazing business.”
By Jim Gerrish
“I like to say that when you buy an acre of land you get 43,500 square feet of solar panel. When you start thinking about your farm in these terms, the importance of having every acre covered with green, growing grass becomes apparent,” Jim Gerrish writes.
Gerrish coined the phrase Management-intensive Grazing (MiG), putting the emphasis on management of the growth of the grass. The animals are merely harvesters, like lawnmowers. In Management-intensive Grazing, The Grassroots of Grass Farming, he uses vivid images and detailed explanations to take graziers step-by-step through the MiG system.
Written for those new to MiG grazing, Gerrish’s insights and personal experience can help experienced graziers fine tune their grazing operations for added income. He begins from the ground up with the soil and advances through the management of pastures and animals, and covers how to manage the water cycle; how to work with legumes; how to stockpile forages for low cost wintering; how to plan and utilize permanent and perimeter fencing; and how to use pasture weaning for health and weight gain.
Gerrish’s lively chapters explain how to make pasture fertility pay; the power of stock density; how to match forage supply with animal demand; how to judge maximum intake of forage; and how using pasture records offers information, not just data.
Grassfed to Finish
Grassfed to Finish is the first book to address all the factors necessary for a quality grassfed product. It lays a foundation of facts from Nation’s world travels, debunking the myths and misconceptions about grass-finished beef and showing that grain is totally unnecessary for a gourmet “killer” product, and actually lowers overall quality as well as nutritional character.
Nation tells how meeting grazing specialist and researcher Dr. Anibal Pordomingo in Argentina aided his understanding of the key components of an all-grass system. Nation includes Pordomingo’s production tips and innovative Forage Chain of grasses and legumes.
Chapters detail what researchers have learned about grassfed’s health benefits; how to get started with heifers and why; how to turn cull cows into gourmet products; how to integrate summer and winter annuals into a perennial-based pasture system; how to come up with a year-around supply of beef while only over-wintering cattle once; how different grasses can flavor meat; how to recognize a ready-to-harvest grass-finished beeve; how production errors can create tough meat; what educated, health-conscious consumers want and how to serve them.
The grass program explained here can be used equally well for replacement heifer development or mainstream stocker steers; however, the production and marketing foundation outlined here will serve you well if you decide to expand production and make grassfed beef your primary enterprise.
Many folks are hesitant to try Holistic Planned Grazing because of what they think it entails. Greg Judy’s book responds to such hesitancy with enthusiasm and positive attitude and by articulating the basics in a very simple way, demonstrating to readers that it is possible to make these changes without a lot of infrastructure investment.
Judy shows how to add sheep, goats and pigs to existing cattle operations. He explains fencing and water systems that build on existing infrastructure set up for Management-intensive Grazing. Sharing his first-hand experience (mistakes as well as successes), Judy takes graziers to the next level. He shows how High Density Grazing (HDG) on his own farm and those he leases can revitalize hayed out, scruffy, weedy pastures, and turn them into highly productive grazing landscapes that grow both green grass and greenbacks.
If you have six cows or 6000, you can utilize High Density Grazing to create fertile soils, lush pastures and healthy livestock. Greg Judy, the master of custom grazing, shows how to earn profits with little risk while using other people’s livestock on leased land. Judy details how to work with Nature without costly inputs, and how to let the animals be your labor force.
Comeback Farms covers multi-species grazing; developing parasite-resistant hair sheep flocks and grass-genetic cattle; and how to select, train and care for livestock guardian dogs. It includes High Density Grazing fencing techniques, diagrams for HDG fencing and paddock moves; and how to calve with HDG.
By following Judy’s examples, you’ll keep your neighbors talking and wondering how you keep your fields green and your livestock grazing year-around. In the process you’ll be pocketing your profits.
Kick the Hay Habit
With today’s management systems, the cost of making hay far exceeds its value to grazing businesses. Studies have shown that winter feed costs are the largest single factor limiting the profitability for most livestock operations. In virtually every area of the USA, year-around grazing—without hay—is possible, yet many graziers continue making hay.
Kick the Hay Habit: A Practical Guide To Year-Around Grazing by Jim Gerrish will show you how much it really costs to produce a ton of hay. He explains how to use nature as your guide for low-cost winter grazing; how to conduct a pasture inventory; how to select the optimal breeding and birthing seasons; how to custom design your own winter forage system; and how to make the transition from hay feeding to grazing.
Wouldn’t you rather spend your time monitoring pastures and moving livestock than making hay?
Both the beginner and the experienced grazier will benefit from Kick the Hay Habit. Gerrish shares his personal experiences as a grazier in Missouri and Idaho as well as insights he gained as a researcher at the University of Missouri’s Forage Systems Research Center. As a grazing consultant he has helped farmers and ranchers throughout North and South America.
Wouldn’t you rather Kick the Hay Habit, dump the heavy metal, and start collecting the profits?
Tripping over the Truth
By Travis Christofferson
With a new foreword by Dr. Dominic D'Agostino, PhD and epilogue by the author
A masterful synchronization of history and cutting-edge science shines new light on humanity's darkest diagnosis.
In the wake of the Cancer Genome Atlas project's failure to provide a legible roadmap to a cure for cancer, science writer Travis Christofferson illuminates a promising blend of old and new perspectives on the disease. Tripping over the Truth follows the story of cancer’s proposed metabolic origin from the vaunted halls of the German scientific golden age to modern laboratories around the world. The reader is taken on a journey through time and science that results in an unlikely connecting of the dots with profound therapeutic implications.
Transporting us on a rich narrative of humanity’s struggle to understand the cellular events that conspire to form malignancy, Tripping over the Truth reads like a detective novel, full of twists and cover-ups, blind-alleys and striking moments of discovery by men and women with uncommon vision, grit, and fortitude. Ultimately, Christofferson arrives at a conclusion that challenges everything we thought we knew about the disease, suggesting the reason for the failed war against cancer stems from a flawed paradigm that categorizes cancer as an exclusively genetic disease.
For anyone affected by this terrifying disease and the physicians who struggle to treat it, this book provides a fresh and hopeful perspective. It explores the new and exciting non-toxic therapies born from the emerging metabolic theory of cancer. These therapies may one day prove to be a turning point in the struggle against our ancient enemy. We are shown how the metabolic theory redraws the battle map, directing researchers to approach cancer treatment from a different angle, framing it more like a gentle rehabilitation rather than all-out combat. In a sharp departure from the current “targeted” revolution occurring in cancer pharmaceuticals, the metabolic therapies highlighted have one striking feature that sets them apart—the potential to treat all types of cancer because they exploit the one weakness that is common to every cancer cell: dysfunctional metabolism.
With contributions from Thomas Seyfried, PhD, author of Cancer as a Metabolic Disease; Miriam Kalamian, EdM, MS, CNS, author of Keto for Cancer; and Beth Zupec Kania, consultant nutritionist of The Charlie Foundation.
Available in: Hardcover
Letter to a Young Farmer
By Gene Logsdon
For more than four decades, the self-described “contrary farmer” and writer Gene Logsdon has commented on the state of American agriculture. In Letter to a Young Farmer, his final book of essays, Logsdon addresses the next generation—young people who are moving back to the land to enjoy a better way of life as small-scale “garden farmers.” It’s a lifestyle that isn’t defined by accumulating wealth or by the “get big or get out” agribusiness mindset. Instead, it’s one that recognizes the beauty of nature, cherishes the land, respects our fellow creatures, and values rural traditions. It’s one that also looks forward and embraces “right technologies,” including new and innovative ways of working smarter, not harder, and avoiding premature burnout.
Completed only a few weeks before the author’s death, Letter to a Young Farmer is a remarkable testament to the life and wisdom of one of the greatest rural philosophers and writers of our time. Gene’s earthy wit and sometimes irreverent humor combines with his valuable perspectives on many wide-ranging subjects—everything from how to show a ram who’s boss to enjoying the almost churchlike calmness of a well-built livestock barn.
Reading this book is like sitting down on the porch with a neighbor who has learned the ways of farming through years of long observation and practice. Someone, in short, who has “seen it all” and has much to say, and much to teach us, if we only take the time to listen and learn. And Gene Logsdon was the best kind of teacher: equal parts storyteller, idealist, and rabble-rouser. His vision of a nation filled with garden farmers, based in cities, towns, and countrysides, will resonate with many people, both young and old, who long to create a more sustainable, meaningful life for themselves and a better world for all of us.
Available in: Hardcover, Paperback
Author Gene Logsdon—whom Wendell Berry once called “the most experienced and best observer of agriculture we have”—has a notion: That it is a little easier for gardeners and farmers to accept death than the rest of the populace. Why? Because every day, farmers and gardeners help plants and animals begin life and help plants and animals end life. They are intimately attuned to the food chain. They understand how all living things are seated around a dining table, eating while being eaten. They realize that all of nature is in flux.
Gene Everlasting contains Logsdon’s reflections, by turns both humorous and heart-wrenching, on nature, death, and eternity, all from a contrary farmer’s perspective. He recounts joys and tragedies from his childhood in the 1930s and ‘40s spent on an Ohio farm, through adulthood and child-raising, all the way up to his recent bout with cancer, always with an eye toward the lessons that farming has taught him about life and its mysteries.
Whether his subject is parsnips, pigweed, immortality, irises, green burial, buzzards, or compound interest, Logsdon generously applies as much heart and wit to his words as he does care and expertise to his fields.
The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower's Handbook
By Andrew Mefferd
Best practices for the eight most profitable crops
Today only a few dozen large-scale producers dominate the greenhouse produce market. Why? Because they know and employ best practices for the most profitable crops: tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers, leafy greens, lettuce, herbs, and microgreens. The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook levels the playing field by revealing these practices so that all growers—large and small—can maximize the potential of their protected growing space. Whether growing in a heated greenhouse or unheated hoophouse, this book offers a decision-making framework for how to best manage crops that goes beyond a list of simple do’s and don’ts.
As senior trial technician for greenhouse crops at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, author Andrew Mefferd spent seven years consulting for growers using protected agriculture in a wide variety of climates, soils, and conditions. The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook brings his experience and expertise to bear in an in-depth guide that will help readers make their investment in greenhouse space worthwhile.
Every year, more growers are turning to protected culture to deal with unpredictable weather and to meet out-of-season demand for local food, but many end up spinning their wheels, wasting time and money on unprofitable crops grown in ways that don’t make the most of their precious greenhouse space. With comprehensive chapters on temperature control and crop steering, pruning and trellising, grafting, and more, Mefferd’s book is full of techniques and strategies that can help farms stay profitable, satisfy customers, and become an integral part of re-localizing our food system. From seed to sale, The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook is the indispensable resource for protected growing.
Your Baby's Microbiome
By Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford
From the Directors of the Award-Winning Documentary Microbirth
At least two amazing events happen during childbirth.
There’s the obvious main event, which is the emergence of a new human into the world. But there’s another event taking place simultaneously, a crucial event that is not visible to the naked eye, an event that could determine the lifelong health of the baby. This is the seeding of the baby’s microbiome, the community of “good” bacteria that we carry with us throughout our lives.
The seeding of the microbiome, along with breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact, kick-starts the baby’s immune system and helps protect the infant from disease across a lifetime. Researchers are discovering, however, that interventions such as the use of synthetic oxytocin, antibiotics, C-sections, and formula feeding interfere with, or bypass completely, the microbial transfer from mother to baby. These bacteria are vital for human health, and science has linked an imbalance in the human microbiome with multiple chronic diseases.
Drawing on the extensive research they carried out for their documentary film Microbirth, authors Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford reveal a fascinating new view of birth and how microscopic happenings can have lifelong consequences, for ourselves, our children—and our species as a whole.
Charles Dowding’s Vegetable Garden Diary
By Charles Dowding
An illustrated full-color gardener’s journal with perpetual diary—75% advice on how to grow great crops, 25% writing space for each day of the year—a manual to inform and inspire, from a no-dig pioneer and one of Britain's most trusted vegetable gardeners
Use this journal year after year to make the best decisions, with your notes alongside Charles Dowding’s suggestions for future reference. Advice in the diary section is linked to each week of the season, and takes you through the annual cycle, from clearing weeds, feeding soil, and sowing to harvesting and storing vegetables.
Charles’ gardens are famous for the absence of weeds - “where is all the cheap labor you must be hiring?” is a common question on course days. Yet it’s a fact that untilled soil, with a humus-rich surface, germinates fewer pioneer weed seeds, as described by Professor Elaine Ingham. This and other natural principles will make your life a whole lot easier.
The diary explains these methods and weaves them into a timeline of action, to increase your success rate. Good timing is good gardening! Book is most appropriate for zones 8/9, for other zones the dates need adapting: for example he has great feedback from zone 6 gardeners using his methods. And you can flesh out the detail with his You Tube videos, where over half the audience is North American.
Available in: Spiral bound
By Michael Phillips
Regenerative practices for the farm, garden, orchard, forest, and landscape
Mycorrhizal fungi have been waiting a long time for people to recognize just how important they are to the making of dynamic soils. These microscopic organisms partner with the root systems of approximately 95 percent of the plants on Earth, and they sequester carbon in much more meaningful ways than human “carbon offsets” will ever achieve. Pick up a handful of old-growth forest soil and you are holding 26 miles of threadlike fungal mycelia, if it could be stretched it out in a straight line. Most of these soil fungi are mycorrhizal, supporting plant health in elegant and sophisticated ways. The boost to green immune function in plants and community-wide networking turns out to be the true basis of ecosystem resiliency. A profound intelligence exists in the underground nutrient exchange between fungi and plant roots, which in turn determines the nutrient density of the foods we grow and eat.
Exploring the science of symbiotic fungi in layman’s terms, holistic farmer Michael Phillips (author of The Holistic Orchard and The Apple Grower) sets the stage for practical applications across the landscape. The real impetus behind no-till farming, gardening with mulches, cover cropping, digging with broadforks, shallow cultivation, forest-edge orcharding, and everything related to permaculture is to help the plants and fungi to prosper . . . which means we prosper as well.
Building soil structure and fertility that lasts for ages results only once we comprehend the nondisturbance principle. As the author says, “What a grower understands, a grower will do.” Mycorrhizal Planet abounds with insights into “fungal consciousness” and offers practical, regenerative techniques that are pertinent to gardeners, landscapers, orchardists, foresters, and farmers. Michael’s fungal acumen will resonate with everyone who is fascinated with the unseen workings of nature and concerned about maintaining and restoring the health of our soils, our climate, and the quality of life on Earth for generations to come.
Buck, Buck, Moose
By Hank Shaw
A new wild game cookbook by the James Beard Award-winning author of Hunt, Gather, Cook, and Duck, Duck, Goose
This is not your father's venison cookbook. Buck, Buck, Moose is the first comprehensive, lushly photographed, full-color guide to working with and cooking all forms of venison, including deer, elk, moose, antelope and caribou. Buck, Buck, Moose will take you around the world, from nose to tail. The book features more than 100 recipes ranging from traditional dishes from six continents to original recipes never before seen.
You'll also get thorough instructions on how to butcher, age and store your venison, as well as how to use virtually every part of the animal. Buck, Buck, Moose also includes a lengthy section on curing venison and sausage-making. Peppered throughout are stories of the hunt and essays on why venison holds such a special place in human society. Venison is far more than mere food. It is, in many ways, what made us human.
By Kate Raworth
A Financial Times "Best Book of 2017: Economics”
800-CEO-Read “Best Business Book of 2017: Current Events & Public Affairs”
Economics is the mother tongue of public policy. It dominates our decision-making for the future, guides multi-billion-dollar investments, and shapes our responses to climate change, inequality, and other environmental and social challenges that define our times.
Pity then, or more like disaster, that its fundamental ideas are centuries out of date yet are still taught in college courses worldwide and still used to address critical issues in government and business alike.
That’s why it is time, says renegade economist Kate Raworth, to revise our economic thinking for the 21st century. In Doughnut Economics, she sets out seven key ways to fundamentally reframe our understanding of what economics is and does. Along the way, she points out how we can break our addiction to growth; redesign money, finance, and business to be in service to people; and create economies that are regenerative and distributive by design.
Named after the now-iconic “doughnut” image that Raworth first drew to depict a sweet spot of human prosperity (an image that appealed to the Occupy Movement, the United Nations, eco-activists, and business leaders alike), Doughnut Economics offers a radically new compass for guiding global development, government policy, and corporate strategy, and sets new standards for what economic success looks like.
Raworth handpicks the best emergent ideas—from ecological, behavioral, feminist, and institutional economics to complexity thinking and Earth-systems science—to address this question: How can we turn economies that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive, into economies that make us thrive, whether or not they grow?
Simple, playful, and eloquent, Doughnut Economics offers game-changing analysis and inspiration for a new generation of economic thinkers.
The Alzheimer's Antidote
By Amy Berger
A Comprehensive Metabolic & Lifestyle Approach
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in 2016 is startlingly similar to a half-century ago. Despite decades of research and millions of dollars invested in uncovering the causes and developing treatments for this devastating illness, progress has been slow, with each new “blockbuster” drug proving to be as big a disappointment as the ones that went before it. Today, an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is a death sentence.
However, there may be ways to prevent, delay, and possibly even reverse the course of this crippling neurodegenerative disease. In The Alzheimer’s Antidote, Certified Nutrition Specialist Amy Berger presents a multi-pronged nutrition and lifestyle intervention to combat Alzheimer’s disease at its roots. Berger’s research shows that Alzheimer’s results from a fuel shortage in the brain: As neurons become unable to harness energy from glucose, they atrophy and die, leading to classic symptoms like memory loss and behavioral changes.
This is a revolutionary approach—one that has been discussed in the scientific literature for years but has only recently been given credence in clinical settings, thanks to extremely promising studies wherein Alzheimer’s patients have experienced complete reversals of the condition. Medical and scientific journals are full of research showing alternate ways to fuel the starving brain, but no one has been bringing this essential information to the people who need it most—until now.
In a culture obsessed with miracle medications, the pharmaceutical route for tackling Alzheimer’s has been a massive failure. Pills and potions don’t address underlying causes, and regarding Alzheimer’s, they typically fail to improve even the symptoms. As a metabolic problem, the only effective way to treat Alzheimer’s may be a multifaceted approach that fundamentally reprograms energy generation in the brain. The good news is, the secret is as simple as switching to a low-carb, high-fat diet.
The Alzheimer’s Antidote shows us that cognitive decline is not inevitable, but if it does occur, we don’t have to sit idly by and wait helplessly while it progresses and worsens. Amy Berger empowers loved ones and caregivers of Alzheimer’s sufferers, and offers hope and light against this otherwise unnavigable labyrinth of darkness.
Salted and Cured
By Jeffrey Roberts
From country ham to coppa, bacon to bresaola
Prosciutto. Andouille. Country ham. The extraordinary rise in popularity of cured meats in recent years often overlooks the fact that the ancient practice of meat preservation through the use of salt, time, and smoke began as a survival technique. All over the world, various cultures developed ways to extend the viability of the hunt—and later the harvest—according to their unique climates and environments, resulting in the astonishing diversity of preserved meats that we celebrate and enjoy today everywhere from corner delis to white-tablecloth restaurants.
In Salted and Cured, author Jeffrey P. Roberts traces the origins of today’s American charcuterie, salumi, and other delights, and connects them to a current renaissance that begins to rival those of artisan cheese and craft beer. In doing so, Roberts highlights the incredible stories of immigrant butchers, breeders, chefs, entrepreneurs, and other craftspeople who withstood the modern era’s push for bland, industrial food to produce not only delicious but culturally significant cured meats.
By rejecting the industry-led push for “the other white meat” and reinvigorating the breeding and production of heritage hog breeds while finding novel ways to utilize the entire animal—snout to tail—today’s charcutiers and salumieri not only produce everything from country ham to violino di capra but create more sustainable businesses for farmers and chefs.
Weaving together agriculture, animal welfare and health, food safety and science, economics, history, a deep sense of place, and amazing preserved foods, Salted and Cured is a literary feast, a celebration of both innovation and time-honored knowledge, and an expertly guided tour of America’s culinary treasures, both old and new.
By Cyril Dion
Based on the award-winning, globally acclaimed film, Tomorrow, by Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent.
What if highlighting solutions and telling positive stories was the best way to solve the ecological, economic, and social problems our countries are grappling with?
In 2012, French writer/activist Cyril Dion learned about a study carried out by twenty-two scientists from around the world that forecasts the extinction of multiple forms of life, and possibly a large part of humanity, by the year 2100. This news barely received any media coverage at all. Convinced that spreading catastrophic news is not effective, Dion decided to explore, along with actress and director Mélanie Laurent and a small film crew, what our world could look like if we brought together some of the best solutions to date in agriculture, energy, economics, education, and democracy.
What they found were men and women changing the world: cities that produce their own food and energy, zero-waste systems, businesspeople and towns creating their own currency to prevent speculation and the appropriation of wealth, citizens rewriting their own constitution, and pioneering educational systems.
By linking these initiatives together, Dion and his crew bring to light a new philosophy, a community of thought among people who often don’t know each other: new blueprints for society.
By Andrew Moore
The largest edible fruit native to the United States tastes like a cross between a banana and a mango. It grows wild in twenty-six states, gracing Eastern forests each fall with sweet-smelling, tropical-flavored abundance. Historically, it fed and sustained Native Americans and European explorers, presidents, and enslaved African Americans, inspiring folk songs, poetry, and scores of place names from Georgia to Illinois. Its trees are an organic grower’s dream, requiring no pesticides or herbicides to thrive, and containing compounds that are among the most potent anticancer agents yet discovered.
So why have so few people heard of the pawpaw, much less tasted one?
In Pawpaw—a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award nominee in the Writing & Literature category—author Andrew Moore explores the past, present, and future of this unique fruit, traveling from the Ozarks to Monticello; canoeing the lower Mississippi in search of wild fruit; drinking pawpaw beer in Durham, North Carolina; tracking down lost cultivars in Appalachian hollers; and helping out during harvest season in a Maryland orchard. Along the way, he gathers pawpaw lore and knowledge not only from the plant breeders and horticulturists working to bring pawpaws into the mainstream (including Neal Peterson, known in pawpaw circles as the fruit’s own “Johnny Pawpawseed”), but also regular folks who remember eating them in the woods as kids, but haven’t had one in over fifty years.
As much as Pawpaw is a compendium of pawpaw knowledge, it also plumbs deeper questions about American foodways—how economic, biologic, and cultural forces combine, leading us to eat what we eat, and sometimes to ignore the incredible, delicious food growing all around us. If you haven’t yet eaten a pawpaw, this book won’t let you rest until you do.
By Gordon Edgar
One of the oldest, most ubiquitous, and beloved cheeses in the world, the history of cheddar is a fascinating one. Over the years it has been transformed, from a painstakingly handmade wheel to a rindless, mass-produced block, to a liquefied and emulsified plastic mass untouched by human hands. The Henry Fordism of cheddar production in many ways anticipated the advent of industrial agriculture. They don’t call it “American Cheese” for nothing.
Cheddar is one man’s picaresque journey to find out what a familiar food can tell us about ourselves. Cheddar may be appreciated in almost all American homes, but the advocates of the traditional wheel versus the processed slice often have very different ideas about food. Since cheddar—with its diversity of manufacturing processes and tastes—is such a large umbrella, it is the perfect food through which to discuss many big food issues that face our society.
More than that, though, cheddar actually holds a key to understanding not only issues surrounding food politics, but also some of the ways we think of our cultural identity. Cheddar, and its offshoots, has something to tell us about this country: the way people rally to certain cheddars but not others; the way they extol or denounce the way others eat it; the role of the commodification of a once-artisan cheese and the effect that has on rural communities. The fact that cheddar is so common that it is often taken for granted means that examining it can lead us to the discovery of usually unspoken truths.
Author Gordon Edgar (Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge) is well equipped to take readers on a tour through the world of cheddar. For more than fifteen years he has worked as an iconoclastic cheesemonger in San Francisco, but his sharp talent for observation and social critique were honed long before then, in the world of ’zines, punk rock, and progressive politics. His fresh perspectives on such a seemingly common topic are as thought provoking as they are entertaining.