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The Call of the Farm
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The Call of the Farm

3.08  ·  Rating details ·  496 ratings  ·  88 reviews
A tantalizing memoir of the author’s love affair with farming, food, and a freckle-faced farmer—and her journey of self-discovery along the way.

Rochelle, a classically trained cook and devoted foodie, was nursing a broken heart and frustrated with her yet-to-take-off writing career when she was assigned to write an article about a small, “full-diet” farm in central New Yor
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 23rd 2014 by The Experiment
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3.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  496 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Desiree Koh
Oct 31, 2014 rated it did not like it
Was this Sweet Valley High, rural edition? Forgive me for expectations, but the title of the book led me to look forward to a tell-all about life on a modern farm, how that might have been alluring and fulfilling enough to put a fledgling writing career on hold. I knew there was romance going into it, but I didn't expect much of it to materialize as a narrative similar to an early spring holdover post-Oscar season and pre-blockbusters that you force yourself to watch on a transcontinental flight ...more
Fran Callahan
Feb 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
I finished because, once I start something I finish it. I would recommend that others not bother. I felt like I was reading a YA book about a girl's silly crush. I wanted more farm, less "Ro."
Angela Critics
I picked up this book for the farm and CSA content and hopes of more on cooking with seasonal farm ingredients. What I got instead is a self-indulgent study of her love affair with one of the farmers. If it were a YA book I'd be describing it as too much teenage angst. But for a woman in her mid-twenties, the constant worry of "am I moving too fast," "did I say the wrong thing," "I'll give him anything if he won't leave me" really got on my nerves. (view spoiler) ...more
Jan 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
To me, this was the farm version of "Eat, Pray, Love"... girl tries to find herself by escaping, and thinks the answer is jumping in bed with the first guy who comes along. If this was my story, I'd be embarassed to share it with anyone, much less publish it. Instead of a book about farming, this is a book about her sexcapades and how she is constantly apologizing to the guy so she can keep him happy and he won't dump her. Spoiler alert: it doesn't work. Not worth the 99 cents I paid for the kin ...more
Meg Pocher
Jan 22, 2015 rated it liked it
it was a well written memoir-ish book but I wanted to slap the girl - I have known girls like this in my 20's and I didn't like them either and now that I am in my 40's and I am a farmer I appreciated her work on the farm but she just jumped into it and the relationship with the guy and I wouldn't have appreciated that on my farm knowing she was basically using the farm to get to the guy - I won't say much more in case you want to read it - but I wouldn't unless you were injured on the couch and ...more
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rochelle has a culinary degree and is a freelance food writer. While visiting a full-diet CSA farm in New York on assignment for a piece, she fell in love with the farm. The way everything looked fresh and natural, the smell of the place, everything. She ended up coming back for another visit, and then volunteering. And then volunteering more of her time until she was basically working full-time for free (or for fresh food, basically). And then she was paid staff. Rochelle used her culinary skil ...more
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
With a culinary school degree and experience as a restaurant chef Rochelle Bilow hoped to make a career out of food writing, but it wasn’t happening as quickly as she wanted. Looking for a breakthrough article she set up interviews at a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm to gather information and surprised herself by falling in love with everything she saw--the small farm group lifestyle, the farm fresh cooking ingredients, and a particularly appealing farmer who caught her eye. She hung ...more
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
(Since the cover and ISBN number look right, I'm assuming "How to Tame a Wildflower" is simply the working title that later became changed to "The Call of the Farm.")

As gripping as a novel, The Call of the Farm immerses you in an aspiring-food-writer's journey from city to country as Rochelle Bilow falls in love with a farmer and learns to cook with real food. This beautifully written, honest, and vivid memoir sucks the reader in and lets us share Rochelle's failed attempts at butter churning, c
May 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
Oh Library book club, why do you keep hanging this twaddle like a millstone around my neck?

This novel was another book about one of those overindulgent young women who create problems for themselves. I wanted to punch the Author in the mouth for making me read endless pages about her one-sided romance with an obvious good-time Charlie Farmer who treated like a slightly backwards child. What kind of woman would put up with that nonsense!?

I did find the idea of Community Supported Agriculture in
Clover White
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I remember reading Rochelle Bilow's food columns in the Syracuse Post-Standard and thinking, "Boy, she sure has a crush on someone at that farm!", so when I saw there was a book, I had to read it. It turns out, there WAS a gorgeous farmer, Ian, at Stonehill Farm, partly responsible for the gushing pieces Rochelle wrote.

I almost gave this book three stars, then I realized it wasn't that the book was poorly written, I was just sick of reading about organic farmers who were jerks. (Here's looking a
Sep 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: farming, memoir, food
I really enjoyed reading this book and found her experiences to be both interesting, funny, uncomfortable (in a good way) and alluring. I love the idea of living on a farm, and it was great to read more about hard work and the issue of getting along with your crew. I think the two things that were done best in Bilow's memoir were: a) exploring her touch and go relationship with farmer Ian. Bilow does a fantastic job of showing the reader her insecurities and opening up about the tough truth abou ...more
Jan 31, 2015 rated it did not like it
I was attracted to this book because the author and I graduated from the same college, and the CSA she is writing about is near where I live. The summary of the book was interesting and I jumped into the book with both feet. It quickly turned into a dreaded read, but I was determined to finish it. I was looking forward to some solid details about farming and CSA's but this book ended up being more of a true romance read.
Marcy Bitner
Feb 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
Read it in an afternoon, but not at all what I anticipated it to be. This is more a non-fiction silly romance than it is a "year discovering farm/gardening life" biography. Reminded me of something I read as a teenager. Finished it only because I started it.
Jul 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Couldn't put it down. But then again, it is a boom about a city girl moving to the farm.
Zaida Malik
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it
This was one of those books I had a love/hate relationship with. As someone who is interested in food, nature, and farm life, I was eager to read it, but it didn't quite deliver.

It started out promising as culinary school grad Rochelle Bilow feels as though her dream to be a heavy-hitting food writer isn't quite working out. Feeling unfulfilled, she heads out to Stonehill Farm, a full-diet CSA run by a group of dynamic young farmers, for an assignment. She is soon drawn to the farm and its crew
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked it. I didn't love it. That said, I think some reviewers have been a bit harsh, giving the author 1 star because she displays frustrating levels of self esteem problems in regards to her relationship with another farm worker named Ian. So, yes, I could have reached through the pages and given her a kick or two when she expresses crippling amounts of doubt in herself and she manages to let this farm hand creep keep her at arms length because he just doesn't know if he she's the one that wi ...more
May 09, 2017 rated it liked it
When I first pulled this book off the shelf by random choice and cover art, I was hooked from the start. After all I've had a growing interest in local agriculture and sustainable food and overall the romanticism of a farming life. I liked it enough at first read to reserve a copy for when I returned home and I will say that as a whole I enjoyed the book and never wanted to quit it for any reason. Here's where the love-hate relationship begins. I love that Bilow includes recipes and beautifully ...more
Rachael Brady (Gilliland)
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read halfway through this book the first day. I was so entranced by the story, and felt striking similarities between myself and the author. I read the reviews midway through the book, and perhaps I let them influence the way I felt moving forward. I appreciate how the author wears her heart on her sleeve, and yes, she’s emotional, but aren’t we all? She was detailed about the farm life and her love life. I have a keen interest in farming, so this book had special meaning for me. Being that it ...more
San Diego Book Review
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by Jenn Serra for San Diego Book Review

Rochelle Bilow's "The Call of the Farm" chronicles Rochelle's year at Stonehill farm, and her love affair with Ian, a farmer, and her life long love of great food. Ro struggles with confidence issues, and feeling like maybe shes still an outsider at the farm while dealing with her rocky relationship with Ian. She makes you love him and want to strangle him for breaking her heart for his own selfish, condescending reasons.

You can read this entire r
Alisha Bennett
May 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
Narcissistic from the first page to the last; the main character manages to annoy and frustrate her readers almost as much as she does her perpetually conflicted boyfriend. Filled with high school type angst (I had a disagreement - now I must tell everyone and whine about it and oh no what should I doooooo!!!???), bile-inducing sharing of *ahem* intimate moments on the farm and a complete lack of awareness that she isn’t the center of the universe. The farm is barely featured and only as a backd ...more
Ellen Pilch
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. A young woman goes from city girl to country girl and falls in love in the process. It pulled me right in with the romance, but also irritated me that she was wiling to put up with a man's lack of commitment.
I found learning about life on a farm interesting. All the jobs were shared- including killing chickens which is something I would never do despite eating chicken. If you want to learn about sustainable farming or just like a little romance, you will enjo
Megan Millard
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was like reading a slow-motion train wreck of all of my own bad relationship choices.

While Bilow spent a year working on a farm, she makes the mistake of falling a bit too hard for a farmer who doesn't share her feelings.

I felt like the red flags were continually waving frantically at her but she couldn't let go. I saw myself in her so much it was kind of sad, to be honest. At least she got out after only wasting one year in a toxic relationship.

I really hope she finally found her ha
Jul 29, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is exactly what you think it is--girl starts volunteeringand then working on a farm because she falls in love with the idea of farming, and also falls in love with the farmer, and this book follows her journey. It's not a bad book, but it's a little surprising how much this falls into the farm-porn trope. It's also annoying that the main plot of the book follows the ups and downs of her relationship, where she becomes increasingly annoying, clingy, and prone to cry at least every 20 pa ...more
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
Lord, thank you it's over. 288 of the longest, whiniest, tortuous pages I have read. Food writer goes to CSA farm...meets farmer...falls in love...moves to farm...farmer tries to get rid of writer...writer not bright enough to figure it out...yes, I watch train wrecks...and that is exactly what Call of the Farm was.
Disappointed in that it was not what I expected. I wanted farm life info not a flighty heroine in a romance. I wanted something like "the Dirty Life" by Kristin Kimball which is the same premise: a writer, a farm, a romance.
Nov 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
Ugh, she got really annoying. I did enjoy the bits about the farm.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Ian was definitely controlling, but I have to agree with him about lettuce being cut into bite sized pieces. The book is more of a romance novel with a real life ending than life on a farm memoir.
Jillian Getting
Dec 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: borrowed
I have trouble with memoirs. I have yet to fully put my finger on it. I know I dislike the ‘dropping out of life’ stories because, to me, that would be shirking my responsibilities. I admire people who are candid about their emotions but on paper that can come across as dramatic. It’s a strange perspective for me. I have had plenty of dramatic emotions and moments in my life and if I wrote them down they would come across that way. Maybe that’s why I don’t write essays or memoir myself. I find d ...more
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
This book had everything I love to read about...and I still didn't like it. It's hard to say why, but I think I had a personality conflict with the author.

Plucky would-be food writer falls hard for a guy working on a CSA and goes to work on it herself. She finds that she loves the people and the work, immersing herself in the experience so deeply that she forgets who she really is. Or was.

She's the kind of personality that makes herself over to please a man, and while she recognizes that kind of
Sep 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
As most of you know, I live on a small farm. My husband's family grew up farming and one of our goals has always been to own a small operating farm. We'd love to be self-sustainable, growing and raising what we use. We're not there yet, not even close, but we've gotten started. We have a dairy cow and goats, and we have chickens for eggs. We also raise chickens for meat. So when I saw this book was an account of Rochelle Bilow's year of living and working on a small "full-diet" farm, I was intri ...more
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