Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer (Paperback)
Fall '09/Winter '10 Reading Group List
“Tim Stark wants to leave his uninspiring job and figures that if he can lay claim to a few acres of his family's farm in Pennsylvania he might be able to make a go of it. He tells the story of a resourceful life and all of the interesting characters he meets along the way, from groundhogs and cantankerous neighbors to New York's top chefs. If you believe in supporting and buying locally grown produce, this entertaining, funny, and well-written memoir will be an inspiration.”
— Harvey Finkel, Clinton Book Shop, Clinton, NJ
Situated beautifully at the intersection of Michael Pollan, Ruth Reichl, and Barbara Kingsolver, Heirloom is an inspiring, elegiac, and gorgeously written memoir about rediscovering an older and still vital way of life. Fourteen years ago, Tim Stark was living in Brooklyn, working days as a management consultant, and writing unpublished short stories by night. One evening, chancing upon a Dumpster full of discarded lumber, he carried the lumber home and built a germination rack for thousands of heirloom tomato seedlings. His crop soon outgrew the brownstone in which it had sprouted, forcing him to cart the seedlings to his family's farm in Pennsylvania, where they were transplanted into the ground by hand. When favorable weather brought in a bumper crop, Tim hauled his unusual tomatoes to New York City's Union Square Greenmarket, at a time when the tomato was unanimously red. The rest is history. Today, Eckerton Hill Farm does a booming trade in heirloom tomatoes and obscure chile peppers. Tim's tomatoes are featured on the menus of New York City's most demanding chefs and have even made the cover of Gourmet magazine.
About the Author
Tim Stark is the proprietor of Eckerton Hill Farm in Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania. His writing has appeared on National Public Radio as well as in Gourmet, Conde Nast Traveler, Washington Post, Missouri Review, Alimentum, and Organic Gardening. Tim and his farm have been profiled on National Public Radio.
"With succulent wit, [Stark] conveys the poetry of a well-grown tomato." —Entertainment Weekly
"Heirloom...is an instant classic of gentleman farmer literature." —Carly Berwick, Bloomberg.com
"Tim Stark is a natural-born storyteller—funny, poignant, and unerringly authentic. Charming with a capital C.”
—John Grogan, author of Marley & Me