Grocery Gardening by Jean Ann Van Krevelen and her merry band of gardening enthusiasts from Twitter and Facebook, Amanda Thomsen, Robin Ripley, and Teresa O’Connor wrote the newest book on taking your garden to the next level. A creative approach to shopping from your own garden is helping to teach all of us how to make one less trip to the grocery store every week or more.
The book takes a back to basics approach for fruit and vegetable gardening and twists it into a twenty-first century application that is super friendly and accessible to every level of gardener. The format for the book is entertaining, lively and very upbeat.
After a great “Back to Basics” of gardening techniques overview the book takes you through “Insects and Diseases” to be on the lookout for and organic controls to manage them. Building a healthy eco-system for your produce to be grown in is a core value that this book explains in a fun and non-preachy way!
Then Grocery Gardening launches into a wonderful chapter on choosing “Quality Produce”. This is fantastic information to make note of in our mega-grocery chain store world, where all produce is picture perfect. Each of the contributors in the book offer up experiences with each of the different topics of choosing produce.
Teresa O’Connor tells about her family tradition of taking the family to the Saturday Farmers Market and choosing the fresh produce to create meals for her family. This section also offers great factual information on ways that we can all save money, support local farmers and the right questions to ask when you’re shopping.
The “Edibles” section of the book provides you a fun and informative examination of some of the fruits and veggies that you can grow in your own space or buy fresh from the Farmers Market or CSA as well as recipes, fun tips and tricks that are contributed by this experienced group of gardeners and cooks. Mini factoids are sprinkled throughout the pages as well that help you get some perspective about where various foods come from and how they’ve been grown and used during the ages.
Each of these writers offers a different voice on the various foods in each section that is full of humor and inspiration to try something new. Be sure to check out Amanda Thomsen’s story about the boutonnière’s she had at her wedding made with Garlic Chives!
Robin Ripley shares a super cool and money-saving technique for growing your own fancy white asparagus at home easily. Robin also gives some money-saving tips on stretching your food dollar with home-grown beans too!
Also unique to Grocery Gardening are the informative “tabs” that tell you about dealing with the particular produce in each section. The “tabs” include information such as, planting and growing, varieties, selection and harvest and preparation methods. So, if you’re looking at the section on Strawberries, you’re getting a complete A to Z on what to do with them! Including a “tab” on Preserving your produce so that you can enjoy your harvest long-term.
Nutritional information is a fabulous section that you’ll find with each group of produce too! Short, sweet and to the point so that you can get some great take away wisdom without feeling like you are weighed down with scientific data.
The “Preserving your Harvest” section is jam-packed with ways that you can save money and have an excellent source of lively and nutritious produce, easily and effectively at your finger tips through the years with some simple supplies and techniques.
The bottom line on Grocery Gardening is that you have a group of friends who wrote a book just for you and your garden! It’s colorful, friendly and easy to read and above all USE! I’m looking forward to trying bunches of recipes and increasing the amount of high quality, organic produce that comes out of my garden for my family and friends.