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September 3, 2009

This Wonderful Life: A harvest that’s good for the soul

Signs of harvest are all around. The afternoon sun glows amber over the fields and the farm stands are filled to overflowing with vegetables and fruit. We’re lucky to live in a place where we can have such an immediate connection to the food we eat.

If you live outside of one of the local villages, you might even live on a bit of land that fed (or feeds) your neighbors.

Our house here in Fly Creek was never a proper farm. For more than 100 years it was a one-room country schoolhouse. Where the coal room once stood, now we have a den. Where students once sat in their rigid little desks, now we sit around a kitchen table and take in the view of the rolling hills outside.

That view includes our own little foray into agriculture. Next to the house, we have a small plot of potatoes, squash, corn and beans. The corn and potatoes seem to be doing alright, but the beans and squash seem to be a nonstarter. Thank goodness we don’t have to rely on our growing skills to feed the family all winter long here at Schoolhouse Farm.

We have been thinking a lot about food, though. And — judging by the books people have been reading, I’m not the only one.

Julia Child’s ``My Life in France,’’ tops The New York Times non-fiction bestseller list this week, and ``Julie and Julia’’ is close on its heels at No. 3. At Nos. 13 and 15 are Michael Pollan’s books ``The Omnivore’s Dilemma’’ and ``In Defense of Food,’’ respectively. Barbara Kingsolver’s ``Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,’’ clocks in at No. 23, and if you count Elizabeth Gilbert’s ``East, Pray, Love’’ as a partial meditation on good, food, well you can add a No. 10 bestseller to the list.

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