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Harvest: An Adventure into the Heart of America's Family Farms

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  105 ratings  ·  29 reviews
“Richard Horan has brought us a welcome view of America to defy the prevailing political and financial nastiness. This is a timely and important book.”
—Ted Morgan, author of Wilderness at Dawn

“A lively visit with the dauntless men and women who operate America’s family farms and help provide our miraculous annual bounty. Richard Horan writes with energy and passion.”
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Harper Perennial
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Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Stopped reading about 60% through the book which I hate doing. Being from a farming family I love the idea behind his book, but his writing was really boring me and I felt like it was just an account of chores he was doing for harvest and rarely anything deeper than that.
Sarah L. Courteau Reviewed Richard Horan's "Harvest: An Adventure Into The Heart Of America’s Family Farms" | The New Republic: It's worth reading.

If you really want to start a food fight leading to extraordinary vitriole, just mention you are for (or against) organic food, raw milk, GMO, veganism, or whatever.  So it's with some trepidation I link to this review in the New Republic about Richard Horan's new book.  As someone who at one time in his life milked over 100 cows twice a day for sever
Vanessa Nicolle
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely love the concept of the book. The author does an awesome job focusing on the stories of family and the journey of the land. I wish there were even more stories of crops he harvested! And I also desired more education on the “how” if the crops. Really enjoyed the bit about Bt immunity and Monsanto. The author has a super zany choice of words and imagery, for example, “And it was a special light, those exposed grapes hanging down like bulls’ balls in the shimmering sunlight” HAHA
Maybe it’s a symptom of feeling claustrophobic and stressed in my chaotic suburban life. There’s something soothing — very appealing — about being in the country, and it’s just that sentiment that led me to pick up Richard Horan’s Harvest: An Adventure into the Heart of America’s Family Farms.

Horan’s story is one of a writer and teacher who embarks on a quest to explore organic farms across the country, meeting colorful characters and exploring various aspects of farming in the months he’s away
i liked this horan better than his "seeds" book. in seeds he travels around to authors homes (and a few other places like gettysburg) to collect tree seeds then take them home to sprout them and eventaully plant them some where. i think , but not sure, he got some help from farmer who is going to add them to their tree farm and make availabe to public, but not sure about that. Seeds: One Man's Serendipitous Journey to Find the Trees That Inspired Famous American Writers from Faulkner to Kerouac, ...more
Cheryl Gatling
There are two stories going on in this book. One is the stories of all the farmers, small farmers, mostly organic, enjoying bringing something beautiful from the land, fighting the big guys, figuring out solutions to their daily problems. We meet wheat farmers in Kansas, potato farmers in Maine, cranberry farmers in Massachusetts, blueberry farmers in New York, walnut farmers in California, and more.

The other story is that of the author, who begins the book somewhat depressed and bitter about li
Steve Comstock
Feb 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book, I really did. Horan's liberal leanings popped up in too many unneeded areas for me to enjoy. I have no problems with his viewpoints, but his supposed overview of family farms didn't seem fair. The farmers he picks are all radical and unorthodox, with no visits to more traditional farming models. If this is truly to be a glimpse into American farming, I think both sides should be experienced. It wasn't a bad book, written well, but at times to me seemed desperate. ...more
May 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
I am not a farmer, but I spent several summers and one fall working on small sustainable family farms when I was younger. In college, I volunteered on local farms, attended the biggest organic farming conference in the US several years running, and traveled to Kenya, Africa for a month to learn about sustainable farming and permaculture there. It was a lifestyle that I loved and envisioned myself following, and though life has taken a few turns since then I could still see myself doing so on a s ...more
Shannon Morelli
Nov 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Richard Horan takes the reader along on his diverse and interesting visits to organic farms in America. His descriptions allow us to experience the unknown and learn the basics of harvesting. I found the book a bit too long, but an enjoyable read.
Sarah Ferguson
Oct 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
Couldn't get past the first chapter. ...more
Feb 01, 2014 rated it liked it
“…a generation of kids that think food comes from supermarkets.”

In the various locations I have lived and visited, there has always been a supermarket of various persuasion: Food Lion in the Southeast, Fry’s and Safeway in the West, Piggly Wiggly in Wisconsin, Hyvee in Iowa, Jewel-Osco in Chicago. No matter what name is in glowing red letters above the sliding glass door, I know exactly what I’ll find inside and a good guess on where to find it. Every once in awhile, it occurs to me that it’s so
Jim Wilson
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A truly interesting book. A series of vignettes that describe various family farms and based on the idea that the author would help with the harvest of various crops at different farms. Good notes and bibliography. The author's beliefs and biases are on display throughout the book which I find enjoyable. The subtitle is "An Adventure into the Heart of America's Family Farms" is slightly misleading. The farms he visited all seemed to have some connection with prominent individuals in the organic ...more
Allizabeth Collins

Richard Horan's Harvest is a narrative journey that I will not soon forget! I am no stranger to farm life - milking cows, mucking stalls, growing and harvesting crops, etc... so I was intrigued by a nation-wide search for unusual organic farms and their farmers. I was very surprised to learn that there were so many organic crops that I had never heard of - particularly wild rice from Michigan, and walnuts from California. I enjoyed reading about the day-to-day lives of today's organic ag
Nov 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Now that I'm an urbanite living on the stretch of south Florida Atlantic coast that is city now from Miami to North Palm Beach, it is good to read about places and people living closer to the land and sustaining themselves and others from it. I thoroughly enjoyed traveling from farm to farm with the author for a variety of harvests. He writes honestly, humorously, and is afraid to be self-deprecating in the process.
Now, it would have been cool to have included a trip to one if the many sustaina
Harriet Smith
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was received as a Goodreads giveaway.
The subject of visiting family farms and being involved in harvests of different types seemed interesting. As with all books, some parts were more attention getting/keeping than others. A particularly useful feature were the different footnotes sprinkled throughout, giving the reader additional information on books cited or relevant, and various snippets of stories that related to the chapter itself. The only real turnoff I found was the author's use of
Sep 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is a series of wonderful vingettes of America's heartland and organic farms! I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend to anyone for a true appreciation of farmers, their lives and sacrifices, how they support us, and the push for organically sustainable food. I found the book well written, thoughtful and funny at times. It was recommended by Mike McGrath (of You Bet Your Garden - NPR fame). ...more
Oh, I liked it OK, just not nearly as much as I thought I would. Those of you who know me know that this is just about a subject that is custom made for me, but I got very tired of his glib style of writing (and, no doubt, speaking, as the book was written as though you were sitting there, listening to him tell his stories), and his constant complaining about his finances. I should maybe give it 2 stars....
Alina Gonzalez
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Harvest was the right book at the right time. Richard Horan provides insight into organic farms and farmers. In addition, Horan's narrative is entertaining and informative. The farmers portrayed are everyday people trying to fix a world gone awry by producing the food that feeds the body yet sustains the soul. ...more
an enjoyable enough read if you're interested in getting a casual look at small family-operated farms in a few different regions of the States. It wasn't quite what I expected, to be honest, and it was a bit tough getting through the first few pages. Horan's writing style is very relaxed, and boy does he enjoy footnotes. ...more
Sep 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Interesting idea, go across the nation, working in the harvest of different crops. But I found it more frustrating than anything. There is so much more to farming than the harvest. He did interview the people he worked for and with and tried to give a sense of their life and what they struggled with.
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book--it was the perfect antidote to my last book (Born with a Junk Food Deficiency). Horan visited numerous family farms around the country, helping with their harvests and telling their stories. His folksy writing style is enjoyable and brings a glimmer of hope to the future of food in America.
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
I received a complimentary copy this book from Goodreads First Reads.

As a child of parents who both grew up on family farms, this book was personal in nature.

I think the author did an outstanding job!
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
As a person who has been involved in harvesting a few farm crops I could relate to this book and the experiences of the author. He is a talented writer. This book certainly has an abundance of footnotes.
Mar 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
Interesting concept. The prose is turgid and opaque and contains 50x as many adverbs as necessary. Did not make it out of Chapter 1. You are awarded one star and may God have mercy on your soul.
Kelsie Brown
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a well-written book! Very interesting to read the authors adventure across the country and his interactions with farm folk.
Jul 26, 2013 rated it liked it
I enjoyed traveling from farm to farm with the author as he harvested crops and told the stories of each place he was at. A good CSA season read.
Megan Lange
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Can't wait to read more by this author! ...more
it was okay ... a look into small family farms in America. I thought there were some unnecessary government rants.
rated it really liked it
Aug 26, 2019
Nate Heck
rated it really liked it
May 19, 2017
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“For two full days we picked green beans out in the field, under the molten rays of the summer sun, rows and rows of beans. And the more rows I picked alongside Serafino, the madder I grew inside, thinking about those charityless, virtueless, and benevolentless shitheads who have spread about this glorious land a melodyless song, a giftless song that accuses the immigrant of stealing their lunches—when in fact they are picking, packing, and purveying them.* Millions of immigrant workers—men, women, and children—ignorant, poor, yet so ripe with hope and determination and humility, even while bent over at the waist, picking America’s crops, servicing America’s insatiable appetite, shouldering the heaviest and most dangerous loads, not so much for themselves, but for America, daily, joyously, like Whitman’s song: “A song for occupations! / In the labor of engines and trades and the labor of fields I find / the developments,” 0 likes
“There’s no more glorious appetite on this planet than that of the person who eats the food he grows and kills and catches. After” 0 likes
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