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Tired of genetically modified food? Every day, Americans are moving more toward eating natural, locally grown food that is free of pesticides and preservatives–and there is no better way to ensure this than to grow it yourself. Anyone can start a garden, whether in a backyard or on a city rooftop; but what they need to truly succeed is The Heirloom Life Gardener, a comprehensive guide to cultivating heirloom vegetables.
In this invaluable resource, Jere and Emilee Gettle, cofounders of the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, offer a wealth of knowledge to every kind of gardener–experienced pros and novices alike. In his friendly voice, complemented by gorgeous photographs, Jere gives planting, growing, harvesting, and seed saving tips. In addition, an extensive A to Z Growing Guide includes amazing heirloom varieties that many people have never even seen. From seed collecting to the history of seed varieties and name origins, Jere takes you far beyond the heirloom tomato. This is the first book of its kind that is not only a guide to growing beautiful and delicious vegetables, but also a way to join the movement of people who long for real food and a truer way of living.
About the Authors
Jere Gettle’s passion for farming developed early, and by the age of seventeen he was in business, selling seeds from his bedroom in Mansfield, Missouri. He didn’t set out to start an empire but to save heritage plant varietals from being lost to genetically modified mega plants–and to wave the banner for a way of life he saw rapidly disappearing. His seed company now employs more than fifty people full-time and includes a store, vegan restaurant, and pioneer village in his hometown of Mansfield, Missouri, as well as two other retail operations in Petaluma, California, and Wethersfield, Connecticut.
Emilee Gettle was in the garden at two years of age, where a love of growing vegetables was passed on to her from her grandparents and parents. She enjoys preserving the bounty from her garden and working hand in hand with her husband on the heirloom farm where they live with their daughter.
“These are the people on the cutting edge of the food culture.”
–O, The Oprah Magazine
“[Gettle is] the Indiana Jones of seeds . . .”
–The New York Times Magazine
“Whether you live in a city high-rise with a tiny deck, or in a rural area on farmland, Jere Gettle’s warm, evocative writing will inspire you to get outside and plant some seeds. An informative, lively read that illustrates the beauty behind cultivating and harvesting your own heirloom varieties.”
–Melissa Clark, writer, New York Times Dining section; author of In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite and Cook This Now
‘Gardener’ Gives ‘Heirloom Life’ To Forgotten Flora
NPR Book Review – October 7, 2011 (Excerpt)
As a child growing up on his family’s farm in the 1980s, Jere Gettle didn’t spend his evenings watching TV; instead, he read seed catalogs. To him, the endless varieties of seeds with exotic-sounding names were full of possibility. He loved the idea of planting them in the ground, tending the crops that grew from them and preparing the harvested vegetables for a family meal.
Gettle and his wife, Emilee, have built a thriving business off that early fascination. The Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co.carries a large selection of seeds from the 19th century, and the Gettle’s new book, The Heirloom Life Gardener, offers advice on how to save and grow heirloom vegetables.
Jere Gettle tells NPR’s Lynn Neary that you can find heirloom seeds sitting in people’s backyards, garages and cellars, just waiting to be rediscovered — and now, some of them are finally coming back.
“In the last 10 or 12 years, all of a sudden every chef and every magazine is … starting to talk about our agricultural past,” he says, “and with that comes the varieties that made America.”
Gettle’s interest in heirloom seeds — or seeds that are no longer cultivated — began early on, when he was just a kid flipping through seed catalogs.
“About the time I was 10 or 12 years old, I started noticing seeds disappearing,” he says. “Especially the ’80s [were] a period when varieties were just being dropped randomly from catalogs for no reason other than [that] they weren’t the newest thing.”
Gettle says the disappearance of varieties like the banana melon, “which was an incredible melon,” inspired him to go in search of other forgotten flora. [Read the full article...]
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