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A Book Review: The Graphic Vegetable

A Book Review: The Graphic Vegetable | angiethefreckledrose.com

During the dreary winter months, I begin to really miss being out in my garden. It can be challenging knowing that the long wait until spring is far from being over. I like to curb these feelings with some seed catalogs and good gardening books. Looking at pictures of vegetables and beautiful plants gets me excited and keeps me motivated until the upcoming planting season begins. The Graphic Vegetable: Food and Art from America's Soil by Michael B. Emery & Irwin Richman will help quell your winter woes.

The Graphic Vegetable | angiethefreckledrose.com

The Graphic Vegetable

This book is a visual buffet filled with images of vintage catalogs, lithographs, seed packets, postcards and botanical illustrations. As a photographer, I really appreciate the history and vision of gardening from the past to present detailed throughout the pages. I flipped through with wonder as I observed an assortment of images and interesting facts.

If you enjoy photography, antiques and thrifty finds you will love this book. Inside takes you through a collection of stories and details surrounding the history of each vegetable from mushrooms to eggplants. They also touch on herbs, flowers, ornamental grasses and blossoming vines.  The authors combine the richness of the arts with the bountiful flavor of gardening. 

The Graphic Vegetable | angiethefreckledrose.com

A nineteenth century still life painting featured inside

The Graphic Vegetable | angiethefreckledrose.com

A peek inside the pages

Heirlooms, Agriculture and Graphics

The Graphic Vegetable | angiethefreckledrose.com

Sweet corn has been a popular harvest grown by the Native Americans. It was given to the European settlers in 1779. It became a more popular crop to grow in the nineteenth century. This was because of the introduction of open pollinated varieties. It is information like this that really makes me understand our gardening roots and how it developed and changed over time. American culture has used corn to make moonshine and bourbon whiskey. Corn oil, cornmeal and popcorn are a few other well known uses of this important vegetable. From snacks to brooms made from broom corn, I now have a new appreciation for this crop. 

The images and graphics displayed on each page ignite my inner foodie. The authors touch upon the history of vegetarianism, how it influenced produce shoppers and put vegetables into the forefront. The movement can be seen through advertisements, posters, and even seed books. The history and stories are told through paintings and drawings. You can see the daily work of farmers through the eyes of different artists. Gardening designs and styles have definitely progressed and developed from generation to generation. 

The Graphic Vegetable | angiethefreckledrose.com
The Graphic Vegetable | angiethefreckledrose.com

Trade card featured from the early twentieth century

About The Authors

The Graphic Vegetable | angiethefreckledrose.comMichael B. Emery is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University. He is also the Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum's educator and volunteer coordinator. His ancestors include both Quaker and Amish farmers, and he has coauthored five books. He has deep roots in agriculture with a great grandfather who made cider and a great grandmother who enjoyed making apple butter. One of his hobbies includes baking, and he prides himself in making apple pies using ancestral redware pie plates. 

The Graphic Vegetable | angiethefreckledrose.comIrwin Richman is the author and co-author of many books, and is a professor emeritus of Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg. He was born in New York City and grew up taking summer trips to the Catskill Mountains. While going on shopping trips at Prospect Place in Brooklyn that included pushcarts and vegetables stands, he became familiar with the decorative labels on fruit crates. At his family's home, he tended to a small orchard filled with apple, pear, plum, cherry and peach trees. He also works with a private group dedicated to forwarding the aims of the Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum called the Landis Valley Associates. 

The Graphic Vegetable | angiethefreckledrose.com

This book belongs on the coffee tables and library shelves of nature lovers, avid gardeners, vintage hunters and collectors alike. I found myself being entertained for hours on end looking through the beautiful assortment of images as the snow fell outside. I feel a stronger connection to my own plants, and an appreciation for the history and background of America's agriculture. The authors did a wonderful job bringing together art and gardening with fascinating facts scattered in between from beginning to end. I will be continuing to pick up this book and flip through the myriad of pictures for daily inspiration. I recommend getting a copy for yourself so you can experience the joy of growing. Click the button below for more. 




During the dreary winter months, I begin to really miss being out in my garden. It can be challenging knowing that the long wait until spring is far from being over. I like to curb these feelings with some seed catalogs and good gardening books. A Graphic Vegetable



Angie's Favorite Things | angiethefreckledrose.com

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  • Reply
    January 27, 2017 at 12:21 am

    That looks like a beautiful book! I love the charm of old advertising and illustrations. I’m also a gardener and I’m starting to look forward to, and plan, for Spring!

  • Reply
    Amber Harrop
    January 28, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    As an Organic vegetable grower this book is right up my street and I love the illustrations in it – I love looking forward to planning the garden.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    First of all excellent review!!! I am very tempted to purchase this book as it appears to look very unique in style! I too am getting that itch to get my garden going (at least seeding indoors) and wishing spring comes early!

  • Reply
    ALi Rost
    January 28, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    Thank-you for such a great review. I’m so excited to get back into the garden this year .. and I think I”m going to pick up a copy. It’s so colorful and I love the old-time illustrations

  • Reply
    January 29, 2017 at 12:39 am

    I can see how this would be a great gift for a gardener. I am not a professional but would like to grow something and be able to pick it or eat it at the end of the season. I could see my mother being happy with this for Mother’s Day though! She gardens and knows what she’s doing. Thank you for the review.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2017 at 1:50 am

    I love looking at vintage illustrations! Out of the images you posted I would have to say that the one with the tomato and beetle is my favourite – very whimsical. Thank you for such a great review of this book! I just might have to get myself a copy before planting my garden this summer!

  • Reply
    Fiona Cambouropoulos
    January 29, 2017 at 8:16 am

    A fun way to view vegetables #MySundayPhoto

  • Reply
    January 29, 2017 at 8:51 am

    It’s so good to read about the transformation in gardening and growing crops from the olden times till date. Farmers really worked hard but now they do get some help with the advanced machinery. Your review was fabulous!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2017 at 9:49 am

    I love those old drawings you shared, like the butterfly riding the tomato and the “swheat” girl with her wheat skirt. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2017 at 11:02 am

    I love the artwork! It would be a great gift idea for anyone who loves gardening. The vintage look with a touch of whimsy is a nice touch.

  • Reply
    Sylvia @ Happiness is homemade
    January 29, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Great review, thank you for sharing! Some of the pictures inside would look amazing framed in the kitchen 🙂

  • Reply
    January 29, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    This seems like a great read. I have always liked the idea of gardening, and I even tried it once but all of my vegetables died because I did not give them enough time. Maybe now that I am no longer working outside of the home I will give it another try.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    looks like a beautiful book – i’m totally checking it out!

  • Reply
    Amber Myers
    January 29, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    This book sounds wonderful. I wish I could grow things but I have a black thumb.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    I love Vintage Home & Garden labels, Ads anything! I need to pick this book up. I was actually in my garden today and it felt great!

  • Reply
    Eve 'Chava Mazal' Stark
    January 29, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    What an interesting collection! I love all things food and antique, so this is right up my alley. A unique book and wonderful review.

  • Reply
    Glass splashbacks
    January 29, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    Great web site you’ve got here.. It’s hard to find good
    quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate individuals like you!
    Take care!!

  • Reply
    Jasmine Eclipse
    January 29, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    What an adorable book concept! I love this idea, and think it would be a great gift!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    I am not a gardener but I do love photography and antique type things. The way you described this book, I think I would enjoy it.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    some of these pictures look amazing!

  • Reply
    Heather with wellfitandfed
    January 29, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    I love all these photos. They are so vintage and I love all vintage!

  • Reply
    blair villanueva
    January 30, 2017 at 4:02 am

    Thanks for your great review. I rarely encounter classic cookbooks, and these selection brings back the old tradition of cooking.

  • Reply
    January 30, 2017 at 5:35 am

    What an adorable book! I love everything about plants and gardening from way back then and even print out my own seed packets with vintage graphics on them xx

  • Reply
    January 30, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I have not garden in several years. This looks like a great book to get re-motivated.

  • Reply
    January 30, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    I have no green thumb whatsoever, I do however know some great gardeners that would love this book. Great review.

  • Reply
    Tabitha Shakespeare
    January 30, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    What an interesting book! This would be such a great conversation starter if it was sitting on your coffee table!

  • Reply
    Aireona Raschke - Nightborn Travel
    January 30, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    This book looks utterly fascinating. The history and the images are really neat. I love old drawings of plants and what not, so this is right up my alley.

  • Reply
    January 30, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    I have only ever planted a few things in our garden and a book like this with lots of visuals could be a great motivator and give ideas to do more!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    This sounds like a great book and so interesting. I would love to get more into gardening and growing my own food. Thanks for your review!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Your review is spot on, thamks for the big share, you make me want to read more oftem

  • Reply
    Chel Guild
    January 30, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    I’d want to tear out the images and use them in a decoupage project, or frame them for my kitchen. Lovely!

  • Reply
    Angela Ricardo
    January 30, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    This book is a very interesting read! I have been looking for something new to replace my current book that I just finished. Will check. Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    what a great review! love the illustrations and would definitely check it out!

  • Reply
    February 1, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Wow, those images are just stunning and t looks like it’s going to be an amazing read!

  • Reply
    Chelsea Daigle
    February 1, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    I love the vintage looking illustrations!

  • Reply
    Hannah Adkins
    February 1, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    This looks like such a fascinating book! I love all the rich history surrounding gardening and veggies.

  • Reply
    February 2, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    There is definately a lot to find out about this subject.
    I really like all of the points you made.

  • Reply
    February 2, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    This book sounds very interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Sondra Barker
    February 2, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    This seems like such a lovely read! Very relaxing as well!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written!

  • Reply
    Katy SkipTheBag
    February 5, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    I love seeing those old photos and ads. It’s crazy to see how much things have changed. Thanks for sharing on the Waste Less Wednesday Blog Hop!

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