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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

Critic Reviews

“Daniel Stone brings a forgotten era of American food back to the table.... Stone brings drama, humor, and perspective.” (Associated Press)

“Mr. Stone is an amiable narrator who balances botany, culinary history, and travelogue with fast-paced adventure writing and a well-drawn cast of characters.” (The Wall Street Journal)

“Foodies and scientists alike will appreciate Stone’s informative and entertaining book.” (Publishers Weekly)

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Entertaining and Educational.

Thanks for taking us on such a splendid journey, complete with heroes, a villan and a better understanding of the agricultural history of the USA.

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Packed full of facts about plant history!

I loved the author's enthusiasm. This book has so many interesting facts in it that I'll have to listen to it a second time. The story is well laid out in terms of the chronology of Fairchild's life. Definitely worth reading or listening to.

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so interesting! and such a great find!

I'm so glad I found this book! it's full of facts and anecdotes and keeps your attention to the very end. definitely recommend

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Perfectly Written - Amazing Perspective

Stone did a fantastic job putting into perspective the lifestyle, difficulties, and change that set forth after the “transportation” of the foods that we eat today. This book isn’t just about that! It’s a history lesson told as a non-fiction story. Stone makes you feel, wonder, and appreciate what it took to get the foods that we eat today into our major department stores.

Well done.

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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.