Chelsea Green Publishing

Taste, Memory

Pages:240 pages
Size: 5.5 x 8.5 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603584401
Pub. Date October 25, 2012

Taste, Memory

Forgotten Foods, Lost Flavors, and Why They Matter

By David Buchanan
Foreword by Gary Paul Nabhan

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
October 25, 2012


Taste, Memory traces the experiences of modern-day explorers who rediscover culturally rich forgotten foods and return them to our tables for all to experience and savor.

In Taste, Memory author David Buchanan explores questions fundamental to the future of food and farming. How can we strike a balance between preserving the past, maintaining valuable agricultural and culinary traditions, and looking ahead to breed new plants? What place does a cantankerous old pear or too-delicate strawberry deserve in our gardens, farms, and markets? To what extent should growers value efficiency and uniformity over matters of taste, ecology, or regional identity?

While living in Washington State in the early nineties, Buchanan learned about the heritage food movement and began growing fruit trees, grains, and vegetables. After moving home to New England, however, he left behind his plant collection and for several years stopped gardening. In 2005, inspired by the revival of interest in regional food and culinary traditions, Buchanan borrowed a few rows of growing space at a farm near his home in Portland, Maine, where he resumed collecting. By 2012 he had expanded to two acres, started a nursery and small business, and discovered creative ways to preserve rare foods. In Taste, Memory Buchanan shares stories of slightly obsessive urban gardeners, preservationists, environmentalists, farmers, and passionate cooks, and weaves anecdotes of his personal journey with profiles of leaders in the movement to defend agricultural biodiversity.

Taste, Memory begins and ends with a simple premise: that a healthy food system depends on matching diverse plants and animals to the demands of land and climate. In this sense of place lies the true meaning of local food.


ForeWord Reviews-
As debate rages about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their impact on seeds and farming, there’s another issue that deserves to be widely visited: the dearth of diversity in our current food system. Because of changes in our agricultural model, scores of once-common fruits, grains, and vegetables have been phased out by the need for food that’s more easily shipped across long distances and stored for days, if not weeks, before getting to market. What have we lost as a result of these farming changes and distribution demands, and what can be gained by preserving the diversity that’s left? Author David Buchanan’s answer, in the form of Taste, Memory, is compelling and important. He combines personal stories as well as encounters with leaders in biodiversity to present a glimpse of what a healthy food system might look like, one in which plants and animals are matched to the land and the climate, not to consumer demand or agribusiness bottom lines. Thoughout, Buchanan’s writing style is lyrical but straightforward, perfect for observations about food and growing. 'My farm project isn’t about just saving seeds or old fruit varieties,' he writes, 'but searching for a creative connection with land and plants that, until the last few generations, was at the heart of most people’s lives.' There’s enormous value in preserving the agrarian diversity that humans have enjoyed for centuries, he believes, and that we’ve only recently lost. Buchanan makes an excellent case for waking up to the issues of crop diversity and how we need to continue exploring how our foods can evolve along with our methods for cooking, preserving, and treasuring them. Buchanan’s work is a savory treat, full of fresh insight and delicious inspiration.

"As we increasingly seek to reconnect to our agrarian roots and restore our relationship with the land, we need guides who have been down the path before us and already negotiated some of the tangles along the way. There is no better guide than David Buchanan. Taste, Memory is the captivating work of a writer who is alert to the world around him and ready to learn from it. Buchanan's elegant celebration of the 'ongoing conversation', as he calls it, between generations of heirloom food plants and the families that have lovingly kept them alive, will inspire a new generation to nurture the happy marriages of plants and place that make communities lively, resilient, and deeply meaningful."--Rowan Jacobsen, author of Fruitless Fall and American Terroir

Taste, Memory is not the typical storybook novel about finding redemption on an isolated old farm, but a 21st-century success story built around collaboration, innovation, and vibrant new models for sustainable farming.  David's book helps us explore agricultural models past and present, in order to help us find our own unique niche, rhythm and flow in the emerging local food economy.  His ability to help us appreciate the nuances of heirloom crops and regional flavors reminds us that we can help to preserve agricultural and food traditions for the seed, one bite, and one backyard at a time!”--John Forti, garden historian, “The Heirloom Gardener”

“With a scientist’s intellect and the heart of a 21st-century Noah, David Buchanan goes beyond biodiversity to explore the true place of Taste, Memory, a sensory experience that ties all of mankind together at life’s dinner table. Using taste as his compass, Buchanan uncovers authentic endangered flavors, making us all long for another serving.”--Poppy Tooker, New Orleans food activist and host of “Louisiana Eats”

“Buchanan shows us that reconnecting with the sources of our food reconnects us with what it means to feel alive. His unbridled enthusiasm for all things agricultural—from a forgotten peach variety to the proper soil balance for a rooftop farm—is infectious.”--Curt Ellis, FoodCorps

“In Taste, Memory, David Buchanan shares his quest to promote fruit and vegetable biodiversity in New England. "Plant it to save it" is his mantra. In his thoughtful meditation and memoir, Buchanan reveals a powerful commitment to collecting and conserving the apples, blueberries, rutabagas, potatoes and other foods long part of this rocky and harsh landscape. As important, though, is his clear-sighted understanding of the necessary innovations that will be required to preserve the fantastic Baldwin apples, Bordo Beets and Amazon Chocolate tomatoes not just for this generation, but for the next seven generations. An important book.”--Amy Trubek, author of The Taste of Place: A Cultural Journey into Terroir

“Every peach, every turnip, every ear of corn becomes a local food in the fullest sense when gardeners and fruit growers opt for regional advantage.  There are stories to be told here, be it the lore of the Fletcher Sweet apple or the enduring affair of ‘that blonde’ cucumber from the Boothbys.  How well David Buchanan weaves the human element into this celebration of plant selection and provincial cuisine.  Good eating goes hand in hand with our dance with place. Let Taste, Memory bring appreciation for varietal delight to your dinner table.”--Michael Phillips, author of The Holistic Orchard and The Apple Grower

“Taste is one of the great joys in life, a sense and sensibility that all of us share. But it is a common pleasure we are in real danger of losing, as our modern world seems bent on a collision course with ever greater homogeneity and the lack of distinctive local flavors and cultures. In this thought-provoking book, David Buchanan captures taste experience from whence it once flowed, from an overpowering, life-enhancing diversity.”--Tom Burford, orchardist, historian, and author of The Apples of America

“A Greek proverb states, ‘A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in’. David Buchanan’s book about food, agriculture, community, and connections to soil and climate, embodies the spirit and vision of the Greeks. Beyond weaving an engaging narrative about farming, the past twenty years of his life reflect the extraordinary changes occurring in American agriculture and a rediscovery of taste and quality in food. We are indeed fortunate that, as a young man, he has many years to plant apples, peaches, and other notable foods!”--Jeffrey P. Roberts, author of The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese

“David Buchanan takes on his subject, some of it prickly, with grace and eloquence. Taste, Memory is hard to put down. It is beautiful read that illuminates the challenges to and importance of biodiversity, a subject that David frames with our taste buds and personal food histories. A wonderful book, and an important one!”--Deborah Madison, author of Vegetable Literacy and Local Flavors

Kirkus Reviews-
"A meander, with hoe, through organic vegetable patches, lost orchards, seed catalogs and produce markets with a dedicated gardener in search of a small farm. From experiments “trying to live off the grid” in Washington state after college to raising produce on semiurban plots around Portland, Maine, Buchanan has always followed his passion for heritage plants: the ugly heirloom baking apple, undersized pear, thin-skinned tomato and other relics of the old family farm lost or marginalized by bottom-line-obsessed agribusiness, environmental degradation and government regulation. In this combination of memoir and treatise for the back-to-the-farm movement, the author laments the loss of 90 percent of America’s crop diversity over the last century. What that means to the average supermarket shopper is dinner without a world of region-specific savors—the fruit of what the French call the terroir. Seeking inspiration and the perfect place to start a market garden, Buchanan made research forays to thriving organic farms and nurseries in New England, talked with seed collectors, visited a USDA gene bank and hunted for heritage apple trees by highways and in backyards. He ponders the relevance of agricultural diversity in the contemporary world and the role individuals can play in keeping heritage varieties in our markets and on our plates. Buchanan ended up swapping work for equipment and the use of small parcels of tillable land around Portland, where he continues to battle late blight and caterpillars to raise a varied crop of rare apples for his own brand of raw cider. It’s a catch-as-catch-can lifestyle, but it’s deeply satisfying to Buchanan and demonstrates the way forward for a new generation of farmers and locavores. A specialized look at the small-farming movement, written with appealing self-knowledge, diligent research and occasional flair."

"Not just a feast for the palate, Buchanan’s book is a feast for the souls of those concerned about a fast-food culture that prizes uniformity and convenience over the kind of tastes that cannot be produced on an assembly line. He focuses on heirloom foods, those dating back at least 50 years and unchanged by modern methods of food production. After working in a garden for seven years in Portland, Maine, Buchanan finally settled into a rhythm that offered elements of city and country life—gardening on borrowed and leased land, a quasi-farm, and across two acres of back yards, and working informally with other like-minded people in a food enterprise focused on flavor. A pioneer in the heirloom seed movement in the early 1990s, he aspires not to an effete effort at reviving fragile foods but rather to bringing regionally and culturally different foods to the table. His clearly defined goal, “to create the best plant collection for this particular time and place,” informs this delightful book rich in delicious details of journeys to discover forgotten foods and flavors."


  • Winner - Amazon's Top Ten Best Food Lit Books of 2012


David Buchanan

David Buchanan is the author of Taste, Memory. He planted his first gardens in central Washington State more than 20 years ago, after learning about the heritage food movement through the Seed Savers Exchange. He has worked for farms, ranches, and nurseries; operated a landscape design company specializing in native plant restoration; managed an educational farm for a community nonprofit; and helped found the Portland, Maine, chapter of Slow Food USA. In the mid-1990s he worked for Arche Noah, an Austrian seed-saving organization, producing seeds to maintain the thousands of varieties of vegetables and grains in their collection.

David helped found and for three years led the Portland, Maine, chapter of Slow Food. He now serves on its national Biodiversity Committee, which evaluates and helps preserve endangered heritage foods from around the country. In 2008 he managed Turkey Hill Farm in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and continues to maintain gardens there and at two nearby sites. Currently he oversees vegetable and cut flower production for Old Ocean House Farms in Cape Elizabeth, and grows more than 250 varieties of fruit, as well as herbs and heirloom vegetables. He sells nursery plants, organic vegetables, fruit smoothies, and raw cider at the Portland farmers market.


Vegan Rustic Cooking

Vegan Rustic Cooking

By Diana White

Vegan Rustic Cooking is packed with fiber-rich, low-glycemic-index, whole foods that encourage friendly gut bacteria and give more food for fewer calories. The useful index lists not just recipe titles but also ingredients. This means you can select the available veggies from your garden or veggie box, look them up in the index, and choose an appropriate recipe that uses what you have available! This will enable you to cook tasty food from the freshest, healthiest ingredients you can find, all year round.

The recipes are organized in sections: Soups; Fillings for Sandwiches, Toast, and Baked Potatoes; Sauces; Main Meals; and Baked Goods. There are even naughty fry-ups (all the fun without the health hazards), omelets, quiches, pizzas, and puddings galore! Each section is arranged according to the seasonal availability of the ingredients.

Available in: Paperback

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Long Way on a Little

Long Way on a Little

By Shannon Hayes

"Every earth-conscious home cook who wishes to nourish his or her family with sustainable, local, grassfed and pastured meats should be able to do so, regardless of income," argues Shannon Hayes, "we just have to change how we're eating." In her largest, most comprehensive volume to-date, North America's leading authority on grassfed meat examines the conundrum of maintaining a healthy, affordable and ecologically sound meat-based diet, while simultaneously paying America's small sustainable farmers a fair price for their food. "But to do it," she adds, "we need to expand our menus to include more than just the prime cuts, and we need to learn how to work with leftovers."

More than just a cookbook, Long Way on a Little presents Hayes' practical knowledge about integrating livestock into a sustainable society with her accessible writing and engaging wit. Designed to be the only meat book a home cook could ever need, Long Way on a Little is packed with Hayes' signature delicious no-fail recipes for perfect roasts and steaks cooked indoors and out on the grill, easy-to-follow techniques to make use of the less-conventional, inexpensive cuts that often go to waste, tips on stretching a sustainable food budget, and an extensive section on using leftovers and creating soups; all with the aim of helping home cooks make the most effective and economical use of their local farm products or their own backyard livestock.

While addressing the topic of making local food more affordable, Hayes also frankly grapples with tough health issues confronting so many Americans today, from diabetes to grain and gluten intolerance. The result is a family-pleasing, nutrient-dense, affordable cuisine that is a joy to prepare, rich in authentic flavor, and steeped in the wisdom of the world's greatest culinary traditions, all bundled together in a thought-provoking and informative book that is as stimulating to the mind as it is to the palate. Features include:

  • Recipes for cooking all major cuts of grassfed and pastured meats indoors and out on the grill
  • Carbohydrate counts on all recipes for low carb and diabetic diets
  • Guide to grain-free, legume-free, dairy-free and paleo-friendly recipes
  • Recipes for using animal fats in traditional cuisine, as well as for soaps, salves and candle-making
  • 16 page full-color insert illustrating fundamental techniques for working with whole animals: from making broth and demi-glace, grilling steaks and cutting up chickens, to rendering fat and soap, salve and candle making
  • Extensive section on soups and leftovers
  • Lively, up-to-date discussions of current issues pertaining to sustainable livestock farming in North America
  • Money-saving tips for making delicious meals go as far as possible

Available in: Paperback

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Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties

Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties

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All gardeners and farmers should be plant breeders, says author Carol Deppe. Developing new vegetable varieties doesn't require a specialized education, a lot of land, or even a lot of time. It can be done on any scale. It's enjoyable. It's deeply rewarding. You can get useful new varieties much faster than you might suppose. And you can eat your mistakes.

Authoritative and easy-to-understand, Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's and Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving is the only guide to plant breeding and seed saving for the serious home gardener and the small-scale farmer or commercial grower. Discover:

  • how to breed for a wide range of different traits (flavor, size, shape, or color; cold or heat tolerance; pest and disease resistance; and regional adaptation)
  • how to save seed and maintain varieties
  • how to conduct your own variety trials and other farm- or garden-based research
  • how to breed for performance under organic or sustainable growing methods

In this one-size-fits-all world of multinational seed companies, plant patents, and biotech monopolies, more and more gardeners and farmers are recognizing that they need to "take back their seeds." They need to save more of their own seed, grow and maintain the best traditional and regional varieties, and develop more of their own unique new varieties. Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's and Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving shows the way, and offers an exciting introduction to a whole new gardening adventure.

Available in: Paperback

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The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer

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By Joel Salatin

Foodies and environmentally minded folks often struggle to understand and articulate the fundamental differences between the farming and food systems they endorse and those promoted by Monsanto and friends. With visceral stories and humor from Salatin's half-century as a "lunatic" farmer, Salatin contrasts the differences on many levels: practical, spiritual, social, economic, ecological, political, and nutritional.

In today's conventional food-production paradigm, any farm that is open-sourced, compost-fertilized, pasture-based, portably-infrastructured, solar-driven, multi-speciated, heavily peopled, and soil-building must be operated by a lunatic. Modern, normal, reasonable farmers erect "No Trespassing" signs, deplete soil, worship annuals, apply petroleum-based chemicals, produce only one commodity, erect Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, and discourage young people from farming.

Anyone looking for ammunition to defend a more localized, solar-driven, diversified food system will find an entire arsenal in these pages. With wit and humor honed during countless hours working on the farm he loves, and then interacting with conventional naysayers, Salatin brings the land to life, farming to sacredness, and food to ministry.

Divided into four main sections, the first deals with principles to nurture the earth, an idea mainline farming has never really endorsed. The second section describes food and fiber production, including the notion that most farmers don't care about nutrient density or taste because all they want is shipability and volume. The third section, titled "Respect for Life," presents an apologetic for food sacredness and farming as a healing ministry. Only lunatics would want less machinery and pathogenicity. Oh, the ecstasy of not using drugs or paying bankers. How sad. The final section deals with promoting community, including the notion that more farmers would be a good thing.

Available in: Paperback

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