Rachael Brady

January 21, 2018

Book Review: The Call of the Farm

Does anyone else use a kindle? I received one for my birthday last year, and I love it so much! One of my favorite benefits of the kindle is an app I use called hoopla that syncs up to your library card and you can download ten titles a month for free! It also has a wide array of music and movies, but I rarely use them. I know how expensive buying books can be, even if they’re electronic and often cheaper than paperback. I’ve found some amazing books on hoopla, along with the goodreads app. If you’re not following me on there, my name is under Rachael Brady. I love this app! Goodreads lets you discover new books and tracks your reading progress. My goal this year is to read 20 books. It also allows you to see what your friends are reading and check out book reviews to see if it’s a good fit. You can also search by author and find all books that were published by one of your favorites. Another feature is that it lets you keep track of your to-read list, so every time I’m at a book store or the library (or on hoopla), I pull that up so that I can find what I have been wanting to read for a while. Both of these apps are available for kindle, phone, or computer.

The Call of the Farm, a memoir by Rochelle Bilow was a recently read book that I found while on hoopla. It peaked my interest because of farming. I’m really into the idea of having my own hobby farm someday when we move to Maine, that’s the plan anyway. After reading this book, I felt so connected to the author. She’s also a twenty-something millennial who started her career as a chef and a journalist and accidentally fell in love with farming, and a farmer.

I really thought this book was insightful to how a working farm operates. It takes place in upstate New York on a farm that is a year round CSA. The farm contains cows, chickens, horses, and lots of vegetables. She goes into detail about how to care for the animals and her farm chores, all the while falling head over heels (err, boots) in love with a farmer named Ian.

Using her background as a chef, she became the cook for the farm. Providing the farmers with their daily meals, she used everything she could from the farm, and includes recipes in the book for you to try at home. She organized the book by season and details each month of the season. The book begins in March and ends at March of the following year. She explains through the season which vegetables are available to work with and how each season affects whether they seed, germinate, plant, or start canning.

While some reviews have called the author emotional, I took appreciation that she wore her heart on her sleeve. I didn’t really get the sense that she came across as entitled or too sensitive, I think she was just being honest and raw about her thoughts and that made the story all the more convincing and relatable (this is non-fiction, after all).

I won’t give away any spoilers, but I found myself getting so caught up in her love affair, the daily grind of farm life and the animals, that I felt as if I was experiencing this with her. The detail she brings to book made it captivating and hard to put down. It took three days for me to finish the book, which is less than 300 pages. I would’ve have finished it sooner, but sometimes life happens.

If you’re looking for a book that romanticizes farm life, then this is it. While it was helpful to learn about farm chores, proper care for animals and vegetables, it’s not so much as a how-to book as it is a book about her life on the farm. I would recommend this book for a light hearted and comedic read about life on an organic farm.