The Seasons On Henry's Farm by Terra Brockman

The Seasons on Henry's Farm: A Year of Food and Life on a Sustainable FarmFrom the author's websiteThrough closely observed natural phenomena and engagingly told stories, The Seasons on Henry’s Farm takes readers deep inside the world of a small-scale farmer, and in so doing, opens a window into what sustainable farming really entails and why it is vital and relevant to everyone who eats.

Every year, when Christmas comes around, I panic and buy my husband a book or three as stocking-stuffers.  The last several years have seen a few fantasies and one or two non-fiction books about cooking and restaurants.  After doing some gardening with him this year, I decided to get him a book about something we're both interested in -- the local farm scene.  I had initially wanted to get him My Empire of Dirt, but I always hesitate before giving a book I haven't read which has received lukewarm reviews.  Luckily, the Amazon page for that book recommended the much more popular The Seasons on Henry's Farm.

After my husband opened the book, I couldn't help myself and I started to nibble away at the book.  It's conveniently set up to have a new chapter for each week through one year of farming.  A week here, a week there.  The next thing I knew, my husband was a few weeks in and I was done it. 

My favorite parts of this book were definitely the chapters in which she goes into detail about either what gardening needs to be done for the season and how hard it is and who does what task or the sections in which she talks about the CSA her brother runs.  These feel both informative and entertaining.  For instance, one of the beginning chapters which is all about the hardships of planting garlic makes me want to go buy some farm stand garlic and it also makes me want to try growing garlic!  Another chapter which easily sticks out in my mind is the one in which she discusses her brother's attempts to stop using plastic bags at his farm stand and the response of people who are resistant to this change.

While some of the chapters that only barely touch on farming, focusing instead on her family or the state of gardening today, drag or feel overly preachy, it's worth reading through them to glean the bits about gardening that sit within.

Overall, I really liked this book and I'm happy that I got it for my husband.

Verdict: 7.  Definitely had enough enjoyable bits to easily outweigh the sections I found dull.

Thoughts:  It's been a while since I last read non-fiction, but this makes me want to find other books about sustainable farming.  I think it might be time to start ratcheting up how much non-fiction I read since the last several books I've enjoyed the most have all been non-fiction.

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