The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Book Review: Organic Inc

ehanner's picture

Book Review: Organic Inc

I mentioned this on another thread but thought I would give it life on its own here.

I gave my wife a copy of Sam Fromartz's new book Organic Inc recently. We live on a fixed income these days so I watch the food costs carefully and try to purchase local when ever possible. I hoped to learn more about the Organic food chain so I can make better decisions in the grocery store and subsequently stock our pantry with better quality foods. Sam is a very interesting fellow. He has written about his travels and taken up some rather challenging subjects. If you read his book, you will understand why it matters that you look for organic foods. Sam has taken it further and taught himself how to garden year around in a cold climate. This is limited to some degree but at least he keeps the garden alive, assuring himself quality foods at his finger tips.

The bottom line is that I know from my experience using flourgirl51's Organic fresh ground flours that the grain source is important. Not only for flavor which is superb but I know I'm not feeding my family pesticides. Organic Inc, is a good read that will help you understand the need to take seriously the risk to our health as global community and to you as an individual family. The instance of respiratory ailments and allergies is shockingly high compared to just a few decades ago.

Many of us are here at TFL because we wanted to learn to bake better breads for our family. Presumably we will be among the many who are proactive and take to heart the information available  and make changes that will stop the destructive process the factory food mills have thrust on us in the quest for higher production and profits.

This is  a good read. I'm no tree huger environmentalist but, I understand chemicals in my food. Priced so it is affordable for all at Amazon.



ananda's picture

Hi Eric,

As a member of the community, and a baker currently studying Food Policy at Masters level, I would like to thank you for posting on this.

The provenance of our food, and its authentic and sustainable origins will be ever more important in years to come.   The more people that take this on board, and address this issue seriously and with consequence, the better.

Sam's blog is superb too.   He is just a fantastic baker!

Best wishes


LindyD's picture

Nice write-up, Eric.  I wasn't aware that Sam had written on the topic and have a copy of his book in my Amazon shopping cart.

However, as a master gardener who lives in a USDA hardiness zone rated as 4a, I have to consider Sam's 7a USDA zone as balmy, not cold!

EvaB's picture

to my fully northern 2, and my aunt always had organic produce the year round when she had a garden, she learned to keep foods in storeage ( like the big companies but without the fancy extras) and froze and canned fruits, and vegetables in season for winter. A meal at her house was nirvana and she lived up here too.

If you are lucky enough to live in slightly warmer areas with less snow cover, you can harvest your turnips, carrots, and parsnips and probably even beets way late into the season, and possibly all winter, just by knowing how. My uncle used to never harvest his rutabegas (all he grew for turnips) until late October and one year into December by simply placing planks down the rows, and letting the snow cover them, then digging them as he had time and storage space. He said turnips just didn't taste right if you picked them before frost! And I agree, the stuff you get in stores now, simply isn't good stuff, even the organic stuff which starts out much better, isn't exactly fresh after a 1500 mile journey from California, Mexico or Florida to Northern BC.

ehanner's picture

I hadn't seen the charts for the DC area. You are right that's not cold. However, places like Atlanta and anywhere on the East half of the US has more snow cover than we do in Wisconsin at the moment.

Sam has a plastic tent that moderates the cold and lets the sun in. I'm hoping he will chime in here.

EvaB, you live in Zone 1 on my chart. The only living things in the winter are black flies:>)


EvaB's picture

Your zone chart must be American (:)) The Canada Agriculture charts show us as zone 2 to 2b depending ont he micro climate. For instance its +4 F here today, -18C and its usually a bit warmer, we have about 12-14 inches of snow (don't ask me what that is in metric, I don't have a chart set up for that) and my Grammy who was from Missouri grew all sorts of things that shouldn't have grown here, and she didn't have no tents or greenhouses. My aunt used to grow canteloupe in her greenhouse in summer, and my uncle grew cukes and corn and squash on the ranch they had, it just depends on where you are what the zone is. But 1 is still a great ways further north.

My mother was in Whitehorse in the late 1940's which is a lot further north than here, and she said they had great gardens where they had soil. It having been glaciated there wasn't a lot of soil, so river bottoms were the best for gardening. She said they had cabbages in the gardens, in June that were a foot across and she wasn't given to exagerating. She also said the Native kids played all day and all night (24 hour light) and fell asleep where ever they were and napped and got up and played more.

They put in a dam on the Peace river years ago, and said it wouldn't change the weather, well they were actually wrong, its a huge lake, and it has made a difference in weather patterns around the area, so it sort of depends on where you are what zone is acceptable, we've even had some zone 3 plants do ok here, some won't survive, and some take right off.

Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

Well, it's about 30F today and there is snow on the ground. No, it isn't that cold, but things do stop growing. Last year, however, I had lettuce under 30 inches of snow and it came up just fine in March.

This year the lettuce and spinach are under plastic, but they have stopped growing. Not died or turned brown, just stopped. So I will still have to wait until early March to pick them. I look forward to that because in six years of gardening I have never grown a decent spinach crop. In the spring it bolts too fast. In the late summer, it's too hot to germinate and then if it does, gets stunted by the cold. 

Eric, thanks for the shout out about the book. I wrote it what seems long ago (2006 published) but it still resonates. My next book on bread baking will be somewhat different and more personal.