Author(s): Deirdre Heekin
Is it possible to capture landscape in a bottle? To express the essence of place the geology, geography, climate, and soil as well as the skill of the winegrower? That s exactly what Deirdre Heekin and her husband set out to do on their tiny, eight-acre hillside farm in south-central Vermont. Challenged by cold winters, wet summers, and other factors, they set about to grow not only a vineyard, but an orchard of heirloom apples, pears, and plums, as well as gardens filled with vegetables, herbs, roses, and wildflowers destined for their own table and for the kitchen of their small restaurant. They wanted to create, or rediscover, a sense of place, and to grow food naturally using the philosophy and techniques of organics, permaculture, and biodynamic farming. Having traveled and lived in France and Italy, and finding so much respect for place-based traditions, they were sure it would be possible to recreate that lifestyle, and to explore the notion that life can be lived in both work and play, in a way that offers an honest sustenance. An Unlikely Vineyard tells the story of their farm and its evolution, from overgrown fields to a fertile, productive, and beautiful landscape that melds with its natural environment. But the book is much more than that. It also presents, through the example of their farming journey and winegrowing endeavors, an impressive amount of information on how to think about almost every aspect of gardening: from composting to trellising; from cider and perry making to old garden roses; from pruning (or not) to dealing naturally with pests and diseases. Accompanied throughout by lush photos, this gentle narrative will appeal to anyone who loves food, farms, and living well."