The Food Lover's Garden: Amazing Edibles You Will Love to Grow and Eat
by Mark Diacono
This wonderful book came across my desk yesterday. It's currently on display on our new Gardening, Urban Farming, and Sustainable Living shelf. (This shelf's name is too long, so I'm going to use the acronym G.U.S. from now on. As in, "It's over there, on G.U.S.'s shelf.)
I really appreciate Diacono's approach to gardening: basically, don't spend time and money planting and harvesting what you can get cheaply and easily, rather, spend your time cultivating and nurturing exotic, unfamiliar, or indeed better fruits, vegetables, and trees. For example: don't plant potatoes when they are so cheaply found at the store and local farms, plant Oca, a versatile tuber that acts partly like a carrot, and partly like a potato or radish, depending on how you prepare it.
If the novelty of growing something unusual isn't enough for you, Diacono describes each fruit and vegetable's use in simple and varied recipes from all over the world. He really wants us to try different foods. "Make Your Garden Unbuyable," he says, meaning grow things you can't find anywhere else, or else grow things that you can harvest when they are naturally ready. Instead of rock hard peaches at the grocery store, plant a peach tree and harvest them at their prime.
I know I'm not going to stop going to the grocery store and farmer's market. And these places have all the essentials. Why grow an onion when you can grow this beautiful monster?
Or these fantastic peppercorns. (I currently pay a premium for these at specialty shop down the street.)
Why grow the basics when they're so readily available and cheap? Why not be adventurous and grow something new and interesting?
I just can't argue with his logic.