A spirited memoir of farming and cooking, love and self-discovery, by a rising-star food writer
Rochelle Bilow, a classically trained cook and aspiring food writer, was nursing a broken heart and frustrated with her yet-to-take-off career when she set out to write a short profile of a small, sustainable CSA farm in central New York. At most, she expected to come away with a cute city-girl-in-the-country piece. But after just one day of moving hay bales, feeding pigs, and tapping maple sap, she was hooked: The air was fresh, her muscles felt useful, and the smells from the kitchen where the farmhands gathered at day’s end were intoxicating.
Add in a sweet but enigmatic young farmer whose soulful gaze meets her own, and The Call of the Farm is set in motion. This enticing memoir charts the unexpected year that unfolds as Rochelle immerses herself in life at the farm. She cooks her way through four seasons of fresh-from-the-earth produce (with such tantalizing results as Blistered Tomato Gratin and Crisped Potato Casserole with Shaved Chives), grapples more than once with the finer points of rendering lard, and begins to feel she has finally found her niche—all while falling hard for that handsome, blue-eyed farmer.
Honest, self-aware, and wonderfully tender, The Call of the Farm is for anyone who has daydreamed about a simpler life—or fallen too deeply in love.
“Foodies and wannabe farmers will love this memoir and will root for Bilow as she answers her own call of the farm.”—Library Journal
“[Rochelle] Bilow brings sensuality to every scene, with rich descriptions of food and farm life, from washing freshly laid eggs to rendering lard. [She] offers readers a slow-cooked story, with tenderness and intermingled flavors enriched over time.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Bilow’s love for food and cooking practically drips off the pages in mouth-watering detail.”—Bust
“I am currently mesmerized by a marvelous new book entitled The Call of the Farm. At the end of each chapter [are] honest dishes . . . that celebrate the bounty and beauty of seasonal, farm-to-table eating. Not only did Rochelle roll up her sleeves and muck out in the farmyard, she harvested many meals in the farm kitchen with each passing week, filled with heart and heartiness alike.”—Farmette blog
“Rochelle Bilow brings tantalizing insight into the behind-the-scenes operations of a CSA farm, but also into the intricacies of falling in love. Until Bilow’s book, I’d forgotten what a fragile dance it can be.”
—Catherine Friend, author of Hit by a Farm, The Compassionate Carnivore, and Sheepish
“A delicious memoir for anyone who has ever been drunk on the idea of farm love. You cannot help but cheer this farm girl on as she sings a bluesy ode to farm life and a complete love song to the table. The Blistered Tomato Gratin was amazing and the Bacon Maple Cornbread is going to be a regular around here for a long time. This girl can cook and write. It is a heady combination.”
—Ellen Stimson, author of Mud Season and Good Grief! Life in a Tiny Vermont Town
“Rochelle Bilow has done the impossible: make me want to live on a farm. I am not a farmer or a foodie or a female, and I couldn’t put this down. She somehow makes churning butter sexy.”
—Jeff Wilser, author of The Maxims of Manhood and It’s Okay to Sleep with Him on the First Date
“If you’re looking for a book intimately detailing the circle of life for all inhabitants on a farm, including animals, vegetables, and humans, Rochelle Bilow’s The Call of the Farm is the very thing. Covering a full year of living, working, cooking, and loving on a central NY farm, her book is candid, visceral, sincere, and delicious. I haven’t been able to look at farmers’ markets in the same way since reading it, and that’s a very good thing.”
—Ashley English, author of Handmade Living, A Year of Pies, Building Country Comforts, and the Homemade Living series
“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, cold days of rock picking in the spring mud, and moments of delight finding companionship with a crew of like-minded farmers.”
—Anna Hess, author of The Weekend Homesteader
“If you’ve ever had romantic notions of farm life, Rochelle Bilow plays them out season by season in this sweet tell-all. Her experience brings readers into a world they’ll likely never encounter first-hand, complete with honest-to-goodness farm-to-table living. The charming romance between her and a farmer (as well as the lifestyle itself) only heightens the storyline—and your appreciation for Bilow’s all-in emotional journey.”
—Erin Byers Murray, author of Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm
“A delightful account of discovering the secret to health and happiness that so many people long for. Rochelle Bilow’s memoir is a celebration of real food, the value of hard work and, of course, unbridled love. If you’re intrigued by the simple, rural life, this book is for you!”
—Tim Young, author of The Accidental Farmers
“A wonderfully entertaining story, pulling the reader ever deeper into Rochelle Bilow’s year of farming and romance. Humorous, honest, and poignant, it is a compelling look into her life of cooking, loving, and living on a CSA farm.”
—Leigh Tate, author of 5 Acres & A Dream