For two and a half years, Katherine J. Black crisscrossed Kentucky, interviewing home vegetable gardeners from a rich variety of backgrounds. Row by Row: Talking with Kentucky Gardeners is the result, a powerful compilation of testimonies on the connections between land, people, culture, and home. The people profiled here share a Kentucky backdrop, but their life stories, as well as their gardens, have as many colors, shapes, and tastes as heirloom tomatoes do.
The Brown Goose, the White Case Knife, Ora’s Speckled Bean, Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter — these are just a few of the heirloom fruits and vegetables you’ll encounter in Bill Best’s remarkable history of seed saving and the people who preserve both unique flavors and the Appalachian culture associated with them.
Amidst Mad Cow scares and consumer concerns about how farm animals are bred, fed, and raised, many farmers and homesteaders are rediscovering the traditional practice of pastoral farming. Grasses, clovers, and forbs are the natural diet of cattle, horses, and sheep, and are vital supplements for hogs, chickens, and turkeys. Consumers increasingly seek the health benefits of meat from animals raised in green paddocks instead of in muddy feedlots.
Louis Bromfield, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, established one of the most significant homesteads in Ohio on his Malabar Farm. Today it receives thousands of visitors a year from all over the world; once the site of the wedding of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, it was a successful prototype of experimental and conservation farming.