A Garlic Testament (Book Review)

In regards to literature the gardening and farming market has become saturated. There are countless books espousing the latest trends. Others center around material that has been written about countless times while attempting to provide a new face to an old body of work. None of which is inherently wrong, personally speaking I would prefer to read those books rather than most other forms of literature but it has become difficult to locate books of true substance among the weeds.

I have an interest in garlic. Maybe a bit of an obsession would be the correct term so I am always on the lookout for a good book about my favorite allium. That is how I discovered A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm by Stanley Crawford.

I am partial to writers who are able to transport you to their very location. Crawford succeeds in doing so with an almost effortless stroke of the pen that reminds me of the great Wendell Berry. Within the pages of A Garlic Testament you are able to feel Crawfords uncomfortable departure from his fields as he makes his way to his early morning interactions with customers at the farmers' markets of  Santa Fe and Los Alamos, home of the atomic bomb. You can smell the freshly harvested garlic straight from the dry earth of his farm. Your muscles want to ache when you read about the backbreaking work involved. You feel a sense of relaxation as he describes the end of a long day.

This is only the tip of the iceberg though. Stanley Crawford is a poet and philosopher who happens to own a garlic farm with his wife Rose Mary. He presents revelations discovered during the early dawn of farmers' markets. The seat of his slow moving tractor has become a sort of Bodhi tree which allows his mind to wander and grasp meaningful discourse that escapes most of society as it moves away from the land with frightening speed. His winters spent trying to capture the inner-dialogue of a genuine land steward.

I am humble enough to admit that my review falls far short of the exquisite text that is A Garlic Testament. I can only hope that I have sparked your interest enough to pursue what will certainly become a cornerstone in the library of any serious gardener or farmer.   


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