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Publisher's Summary

The true adventures of David Fairchild, a late 19th-century food explorer who traveled the globe and introduced diverse crops like avocados, mangoes, seedless grapes - and thousands more - to the American plate

In the 19th century, American meals were about subsistence, not enjoyment. But as a new century approached, appetites broadened, and David Fairchild, a young botanist with an insatiable lust to explore and experience the world, set out in search of foods that would enrich the American farmer and enchant the American eater.

Kale from Croatia, mangoes from India, and hops from Bavaria. Peaches from China, avocados from Chile, and pomegranates from Malta. Fairchild's finds weren't just limited to food: From Egypt he sent back a variety of cotton that revolutionized an industry, and via Japan he introduced the cherry blossom tree, forever brightening America's capital. Along the way, he was arrested, caught diseases, and bargained with island tribes. But his culinary ambition came during a formative era, and through him, America transformed into the most diverse food system ever created.

©2018 Daniel Stone (P)2018 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Captivating

A thrilling story of a great explorer. spiced with fascinating tidbits and stories. highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 03-27-18

what you eat probably came from someplace else

This is a great story about the efforts of a few key people that resulted in the bounty of fruits and vegetables we enjoy today. These people included scientists, travelers, politicians and strangers in faraway lands. Daniel Stone does a great job bringing it all to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Good book, but would like more detail.

I enjoyed the book, but would have liked more detail about Fairchild's life and education. Also wanted to hear about how what he collected was propagated, maintained, and distributed by the USDA as well as how he got farmers and consumers to adopt them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rosemary
  • Greenwich, CT, United States
  • 04-22-18

A brilliant journey into unknown American history

This book is delightful because it explores a whole history, nearly unknown and unsung before, that of our panoply of luxurious fruit and vegetables and how they came here when America was a heavy bread and meat only country.
David Fairchild, an explorer every bit as intrepid ad Edmund Hillary or Lewis and Clarke, brought our young country great beauty, cherry trees from Japan and enormous nourishment from every corner of the world.
The book’s effect on the listener is both terrific adventure with the sure promise of discovery and satisfaction that anyone trolling the aisles of Whole Foods or a good farmers market can attest today.
Usually authors are dreadful readers but this one is a winner.

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Surprisingly entertaining and engaging

The book would be a great premise for an epic action movie. It moves quickly taking you by the hand and you are with all the "Food Explorers".

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Great book

This book tells a fascinating story that had flown under the radar of history, but had had a profound effect on the world of today. I can appreciate the food I eat more than I did before.

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A great look into the origin of many of our foods.

It sounds like a life full of adventure and many interesting destinations. We are lucky to have so many great options in our modern diet.

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Indiana Jones of the plant world

What made the experience of listening to The Food Explorer the most enjoyable?

Visionary, Explorer, Scientist

What about Daniel Stone’s performance did you like?

Very engaging and easy to listen to.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The life-long friendship between Fairchild and Lathrop

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wonderful story wonderful book

spellbinding story. I wanted to know more about David Fairchild and was transfixed. I only wish that his final years had been flushed out a little more.