I was recently at the local library with my family and was digging around in the gardening section, no pun intended. My two year old son pulled a book off of the shelf called A Celebration of Heirloom Vegetables (Growing and Cooking Old-Time Varieties) by Roger Yepsen. I took a quick look at it and asked him if he would like me to get it and he replied that he would.
When I finally made it home and started thumbing briefly through the trio of books I had gotten I have to say that it really did not catch my eye. But let me tell you when I finally sat down to read the book from cover to cover I was really impressed. This is an absolutely fantastic book.
To begin with he gives a brief overview of heirlooms and their benefits. He then presents specific vegetables and how to grow, harvest and save seed from each variety. Yepsen is also an extremely talented artist and his watercolors are available throughout the book. As he list each veggie he then presents some interesting and easy recipes to go along with the beautiful literature and visuals in this book. He wraps this 192 page book up with a great resource guide that contains some really interesting heirloom seed sellers that range from the much talked about Seed Savers Exchange to the D. Landreth Seed Company which is America's oldest existing seeding company, they are so old in fact that they note that they had been in business 36 years before it offered tomatoes because of their former reputation as a poisonous ornamental.
I sincerely recommend this book, it runs right around $35 but is well worth the price. It is informative, beautifully illustrated and reads very quickly. It would make a nice addition to any gardeners library.
(A Celebration of Heirloom Vegetables, Growing and Cooking Old-Time Varieties, Written and Illustrated by Roger Yepsen. Published in 1998 by Artisan, a division of Workman Publishing Company, Inc.)