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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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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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  • JD
  • California
  • 08-10-18

Fascinating true story of, arguably, our countries' best botanist. The scope of his expeditions and volume of fruits and vegetables that he brought here (despite opposition in some cases), including cherry trees in Washington DC is eye opening.

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Excellent

What an unexpected treat! Our book club chose this book and I thought it would be boring. But surprisingly it is packed full of interesting information on numerous facts. Great surprise.

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AMAZING!!!!

So well researched and a facinating tale! so many interesting tidbits about an American hero you may never have heard of.

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Fascinating

wish my high school history teacher had read this to spice up class a bit

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  • Claus
  • Vancouver, BC
  • 06-13-18

Excellent and incredibly informative

I learned so much and it didn't even feel like learning as it was so very interesting. I love food and this really opened my eyes as to where many of the ingredients I use daily come from.

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Make it into a movie

This story was such a delightful tromp through discovery and adventure and wonderfully colorful characters. Lathrop and Fairchild’s first foray into food introduction would make for a fantastic movie. A gritty sequel featuring Meyer would be a fantastic follow. Authors performing their own work is always the best read.

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Myer lemon

I don’t think that I will ever look again at a Myer Lemon without tears in my eyes