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An intimate, gorgeously observed memoir about family and farming that forms a powerful lesson in the hard-earned risks that make life worth living
The summer he was thirty-one, Arlo Crawford returned home for the summer harvest at New Morning Farm - seventy-five acres tucked in a hollow in south-central Pennsylvania where his parents had been growing organic vegetables for almost forty years.
Like many summers before, Arlo returned to the family farm's familiar rhythms - rise, eat, bend, pick, sort, sweat, sleep. But this time he was also there to change his direction, like his father years ago. In the 1970s, well before the explosion of the farm-to-table and slow food movement, Arlo's father, Jim, left behind law school and Vietnam, and decided to give farming a try. Arlo's return also prompts a reexamination of a past tragedy: the murder of a neighboring farmer twenty years before.
A chronicle of one full season on a farm, with all its small triumphs and inevitable setbacks, A Farm Dies Once a Year is a meditation on work - the true nature of it, and on taking pride in it - and a son's reckoning with a father's legacy. Above all, it is a striking portrait of how one man builds, sows, and harvests his way into a new understanding of the risks necessary to a life well-lived.
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