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The Blueberry Years: A Memoir of Farm and Family by Jim Minick.. No tigers here. Provides a break from the hectic chaos of the modern world. Travel sideways in time.

Joel Gardner, LitSnap Editor

"Minick, a columnist for the Roanoke Times New River Current, chronicles how he and his wife, Sarah, pursued their dream of starting an organic, pick-your-own blueberry farm in Virginia. They hope that the experiment in new millennial homesteading will make them independent of their "off-farm" teaching jobs and lead to a simpler and environmentally responsible life that gives them the time to practice their arts (Jim writing, Sarah basket weaving). The chapters narrating their 12 years of farming are separated by interludes on the scientific and cultural history of the blueberry and the benefits of organic farming.."

Publishers Weekly

"Teacher and writer Minick moves his family to a Virginia farm, where he plants a thousand blueberry bushes. Learning the ins and outs of blueberry culture, they toil to make their farm an economic success while following rigorous principles of organic agriculture. Local farmers deride some of their practices and warn that rejecting modern pesticides and fertilizers will leave them vulnerable to blights and pests. The Minicks find their chosen methods not always easy, but they bask in the many rewards their efforts yield. The blueberries themselves have incomparable flavor, and, when conditions are perfect, yield abundantly. People drive hundreds of miles just to gather pristine berries in the warmth of a Virginia afternoon. And the daily and seasonal rhythms of the farm give the Minicks pride of ownership and of productive accomplishment so long as nature chooses to cooperate. Very useful for anyone eager to plunge into organic agriculture. Recipes included.."

Booklist

Author bio: Jim is the author of The Blueberry Years, a memoir published by Thomas Dunne of St. Martin's. Minick has also written a collection of essays, Finding a Clear Path, two books of poetry, Her Secret Song and Burning Heaven, and he edited All There Is to Keep by Rita Riddle. In 2008, the Virginia College Bookstore Association awarded Burning Heaven the Jefferson Cup for best book of the year. Minick has won awards from the Appalachian Writers Association, Appalachian Heritage, Now and Then Magazine, and Radford University, where he teaches writing and literature. He’s garnered grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and a residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Minick’s work has appeared in many publications including Shenandoah, Orion, San Francisco Chronicle, Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Conversations with Wendell Berry, The Sun, Appalachian Journal, Bay Journal News, and Wind, and for thirteen years, he wrote a monthly column for The Roanoke Times New River Current. Currently he's working on a novel about fire, healing, and Pennsylvania Dutch folklore. He lives, hikes, and gardens in the mountains of Virginia with his wife and four dogs. More information can be found here: http://www.jim-minick.com/about.html

Book Details: General Nonfiction; 352 pp. Warms, restores: Kindle/Print editions

Publisher Website: http://us.macmillan.com/thomasdunne.aspx

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