The Wisdom of the Radish: And Other Lessons Learned on a Small Farm tells the entertaining, enlightening (and often humorous) tale of our first year of farming vegetables in Sonoma County. http://wisdomoftheradish.com
The inspiration for the book sprang from desire to share the nitty gritty details of what it’s actually like to try to grow and sell food for a living. We love reading great books like Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma and Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, but felt like there also needed to be a book out there that told the story of local food from the perspective of the people behind the farmers market stalls, and in particular the perspective of young, inexperienced farmers like ourselves–who will be the future of food in this country. And now that it’s all finished, if we may say so, the book is a great read for anyone who grows food or is interested in knowing where their food comes from–especially the farmers market shoppers among you.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to start farming? Not just as an experimental hobby or an idyllic-daydream, but as a down-to-earth lifestyle change where you put your economic future on the line? If you’re at all like Lynda Hopkins was just a few years ago, you’re a suburbanite who knows little, if anything, about growing produce or taking care of farm animals. Yet Lynda and her then boyfriend (now husband) did what many adventurous young couples have done in recent years — they started farming.
In The Wisdom of the Radish, Lynda shares stories from her first year as a newbie farmer. And let me tell you, it’s far from idyllic.
Her stories aren’t very romantic or glamorized, but they are thought-provoking and honest. Crop failures, unpredictable weather, and animal predators may seem like bad news, but thankfully those aren’t her only stories. A steep learning curve is aided a bit by the advent of the internet. Perhaps the most meaningful story woven throughout the book is her growing acceptance of what it means to belong to the farm — how tending to the plot of land and routinely caring for the animals roots her, grounds her, and transforms her sense of identity.
The greatest plus to this book? Lynda Hopkins’ storytelling. She’s gifted. Really gifted.