For anyone who began raising vegetables commercially in the last 25 years, Eliot Coleman is an icon. His 1989 book The New Organic Grower has become the single greatest classic in its field, and I’ve never met a grower has doesn’t have a well-worn copy on his shelf. If this weren’t enough, Eliot went on to produce two more classics dedicated to the groundbreaking field of winter production in unheated hoophouses. His contribution to the field of organic farming is unparalleled. Eliot’s wife, Barbara Damrosch, is a gardening authority in her own right.
The publication of their newest book, a joint effort, is an event worthy of celebration. It’s really two books in one: half gardening book, half cookbook. Although much of the information contained in the gardening section is identical to material in their other books, it’s always valuable to see the most updated version of an author’s thinking on a subject. Unlike The New Organic Grower, this new book is intended for home gardeners. The cookbook half of the book is perhaps less invaluable than the gardening half, but one still finds plenty of interest in the recipes, and even more in the approach to cooking. Barbara and Eliot write of using their garden as their pantry and understand that it is the freshest ingredients prepared simply which produce the most delight in the kitchen and at table.
As an introduction to the writing of Coleman and Damrosch or as an update for one well-familiar with their writing, The Four Season Farm Cookbook deserves a place on the shelf of every gardening and farmer.