Harvest Week: Why Harvest Week?

Of everything I do on my blog, there is one feature which I have been wanting to do for a very long time, the feature which I am actually starting today, and that is Harvest Week. So now you have two questions:
1) What is Harvest Week?
2) Why have you wanted so badly to do this?

Glad you asked! Harvest Week is simply a (made up by me) celebration of those people who have marched opposite to the general flow of American society and made the trek from the city back to the farm. To celebrate I will be reviewing three books that are on this theme to varying degrees: “Coop” by Michael Perry, “The Bucolic Plague” by Josh Kilmer-Purcell, and “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver. I thought that Thanksgiving week was an appropriate time for this, since it was originally about celebrating the bounty of the earth which sustained the Pilgrims.

‘Why Harvest Week’ is a more personal question. Part of the reason was just that I wanted an excuse to make time for the books I will be reviewing this week. This type of food literature has been near and dear to my heart ever since I read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan shortly before I began blogging. They really aren’t quite the same type of book as “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” (which I loved), but they do typify the type of life I have been drawn to ever since reading Pollan’s book. As an aside, I don’t think that it will ever cease to be funny to me that his last name is POLLAN, and he writes about FOOD, and PLANTS in particular.

Anyway, ever since “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” I have harbored a not-so-secret desire to have a backyard that contains both a vegetable garden and chickens. They’ll eat my bugs! They’ll provide great fertilizer! Eating grass and my bugs will give their eggs a crazy good flavor compared to the generic junk at the grocery store!

Um, yeah, so anyway, there’s the thing you may not have known about me, I geek out over the thought of raising chickens. I don’t really know how it is done, though, so let’s hope that I pick up some tips from this week’s books.

14 comments to Harvest Week: Why Harvest Week?

  • Okay, so I got a little excited on Twitter. I, too, have a fascination with food and where it comes from (a fascination that’s only grown since reading Pollan). The reason for my over zealous excitement is because until now I kind of thought I was alone! I am so looking forward to your Harvest Week posts! What a great idea!

  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma inspired me to want to have a large garden someday too.

  • I really really suck at gardening (which is crazy since I am a farm girl) but I do have my own fantasies…raising goats and sheep and making my own cheese! I love this idea. I had to run into my bedroom and find a book I got at SIBA that would be perfect, called “Made from Scratch” by Jenna Woginrich. (She raises chickens!) It has been heralded as “the new face of the back-to-nature movement”. Perfect.

  • OMG I want chickens too! I don’t think the village will allow it and I’m not sure my neighbors would be happy if they did. But someday I am going to have them. I already have the garden and it gets bigger every year.

    I’m listening to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle right now and I find myself nodding in agreement with a lot of it.

    This is a great idea to showcase these books. Now I’m excited too.

  • This is fantastic — I teach a Food & Culture class, so I will definitely be on the lookout. I have read the Kingsolver book, which I really enjoyed. Great idea!

  • I just read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan and I have to say I’m feeling pretty much the same way. I would just love to grow my own food and have my own chickens! Sadly I don’t think I’ll ever live in a place where I’ll have the space – English gardens are tiny and I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving animals on an allotment. I definitely want to have a garden though. I have a black thumb but I’ll never stop trying.

    I’m looking forward to this week on your blog!

    • Yes, what is slightly terrifying about this garden idea is that I am not the best at keeping house plants alive. I’m hoping that if I had a garden I was making time for regularly I could do better, though.

  • Love this post. This is just the sort of stuff I try to do over at the Little House! Though I’ve drawn the line at chickens. I too love the idea on a romantic level, but … how many eggs do you REALLY eat a week? Would you want to slaughter your own birds? The answers of “maybe 2 a week” and “no” is just part of it; I worked on a ranch for years which also helped kill romantic ideas, as hell if chickens aren’t very very loud. My neighbor calls animal control when my dog barks. But, perhaps you don’t live next door to a sociopath.
    That said … chicken compost is super awesome for the garden! Maybe I’ll have chickens one day for, um, the $hit. Ha! :)

    • Yeah, I definitely don’t want to butcher my own chickens, I just want a laying flock. Cutting off chicken heads is not at all appealing to me. In COOP, which I’m reviewing tomorrow, he has a flock of laying chickens and a flock of meat chickens. I’ll just skip the other flock.

  • COOP is awesome and I love, love, LOVE animal vegetable miracle. Do you eat a decent amount of eggs? If not you could always sell or give away the extras, which would add even more cuteness factor. :)
    I had a fantasy that I’d sell my extra pumpkins to neighborhood children for carving this October but then my entire pumpkin bed mildewed. Sniffle. Next year!

    • We eat a fair number of eggs, and I think we’d eat more if we had them to use or lose. I can go a good month before I tire of omelets in the morning, and my toddler loves scrambled eggs with a little cheese. If I’m really motivated, I make myself egg white omelets and scramble the yolks for him, since he needs that extra fat for brain development and I don’t.

  • Suddenly, the chicken discussion on Twitter today makes a heck of a lot more sense. Good luck with Harvest Week! I personally am not that motivated, and I hate gardening. However, I can appreciate those who do and those who feel strongly about the freshness of their food. I know you LOVED The Bucolic Plague, so I’ll be anxiously awaiting that review!