Heirlooms: Letters From a Peach Farmer by David Mas Masumoto [in San Francisco Chronicle]
As I write, I’m into the ninth of 16 hours that make up the audio version of Michael Pollan’sThe Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. Learning about the degrading industrialization of our food makes me never want to eat again.
But then I catch a blurb from Pollan himself, who touts “the rich American tradition of agrarians who wield their pens as brilliantly as their farm implements” on the back cover of David Mas Masumoto’s latest collection, Heirlooms: Letters From a Peach Farmer. I’m not only tempted to eat – peaches, especially – but I’m quickly cracking open this enticing book and finding toothsome tidbits and sage life advice.
Masumoto is an American farmer whose family arrived from Japan in 1898 and today embodies a centurylong history of farming “the other California,” the agriculturally rich Central Valley. He continues a three-generation tradition of producing fresh food off the land, and while he faces daily hardships – both natural and man-made – his respect for and love of a simple agrarian lifestyle paints a halcyon picture. …[click here for more]