Monday, June 16, 2008

How to Pick a Peach

Green Bean Dreams has an eco-book club going, ok, a challenge, to get us reading books about environmental preservation and protection. It's actually been going on in May and June. Not that I've posted any book reviews. No hairshirt necessary, though, Green Bean is a nurturing kind of motivator and she just wants us to keep reading.

How to Pick a Peach by Russ Parsons is a fascinating read. I'm not done, but hell, it's a reference book and I'm hanging onto this sucker for future, uh, use. I already figured out how to pick a watermelon (look for a yellow spot where it sat on the ground and ripened in the field -- cool!) and remembered it in the store when I was (confession) buying a decidedly not-local watermelon from California. Yellow spot! That info stuck! I am so into this book.

So the basic premise of the book is that if one sets out to buy the best-tasting food possible, then labels like organic and locavore can't be far behind. Parsons weaves together fascinating historical details about the genesis of modern plant breeding, recipes, practical buying tips, and helpful lists like "When it's okay to buy unripe fruit." It's like getting the thorough research end of a Michael Pollan book complete with the tips on how to identify decent produce in the market, and cook said delightful food.

I have a community garden plot and have been puttering around there, off and on, for about five years. So I know a tiny bit about food. But like most of us, my sense of seasonal food and basic store of gardening knowledge is pretty thin. That's where this book comes in. It's a contemporary storehouse of information, which is why I'm hanging onto it. Thanks to Green Bean Dreams and my friend AE who recommended this on the heels of Garbageland: On the Secret Trail of Trash. Anyone got any ideas for readable page-turners about energy use and climate change?!


6 comments:

Green Me said...

The Transition Handbook and Peak Everything have both piqued my interest. The handbook is sold out at the moment (new printing in July I heard). I figure that perhaps I should read Peak Oil first (to get all depressed) and then move on to the Transition Handbook for a good dose of hope + solution...

De in D.C. said...

Have you read Joan Gussow's This Organic Life? Chronicles how her and her husband were able to completely support themselves from their suburban backyard garden for more than two decades.

Trace & Terri said...

Loved the titles you mentioned such as "How to Pick a Peach" and " Green Bean Dreams." Haven't read any good gardening titles but I do have "Organic Gardening " magazine on my desk. I love the cover "Plant Natives for year-round beauty " This is one of the messages I keep sending out to all gardeners especially as our resources dry up. (water in Ca.)

Mrs. G. said...

I have a recommendation: Epitaph to a Peach: Four Seasons on My Family Farm by David M. Masumoto. Beautiful book.

Green Bean said...

I'd never heard of this book but you make me want to run out and buy a copy. Skip the library! This sucker sounds like I need to own it. Thanks for the great review!

Green Bean said...

Oh, and The Great Turning was recommended on Joyce's blog (tallgrassworship) in the comments as a book about peak oil that is actually fairly positive. I'm all about positive these days! Hope that's helpful.