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The Wisdom of the Radish: And Other Lessons Learned On a Small Farm    by Lynda Hopkins Amazon.com order for
Wisdom of the Radish
by Lynda Hopkins
Order:  USA  Can
Sasquatch Books, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

The Foggy River Farm is located north of San Francisco on the outskirts of Healdsburg, California. The author and her boyfriend, Emmett, raise produce on about two acres on this patch of land situated on his family's vineyard.

The envisioned idyllic life of these two young farmers didn't turn out exactly as they expected. The harsh reality of crop failures, worm-riddled corn, flood, and pesky wild animals made this experiment in getting back to the earth one to remember and, of course, write about.

Others have had a similar experience trying to turn a home garden into an income producing truck farm and written about it. Hopkins, putting her degrees from Stanford in environmental science communications and creative writing to good use, shares her experiences playing farmer.

'Emmett the sort of farmer I love and I are both twenty-five, with a healthy appreciation for the environment. We enjoy cooking and eating food. Emmett even likes growing things, and has had success doing so in the past,' Hopkins says, which sort of explains the rationale for this grand agricultural experiment.

What follows is an account of their life of finding seed, planting seed, battling insect infestations and hungry wild critters and then the harvesting and the marketing of the bounty of their two acres.

A well-written and entertaining narrative, with a few photos tossed in to help you envision the couple's life on the farm, this is a book that underscores, once again, that fact that living off the land is a challenging and demanding life. Fortunately, Lynda Hopkins sees the humor in the situation as much as the long hours and occasional heartbreak!

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