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.
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.
Heirlooms, Agriculture and Graphics
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.
About The Authors
Michael 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.
Irwin 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.
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.