By Rochelle Bilow
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.