We always like to share the books we’re settling down with as the nights grow longer. Here’s a few of our recent favs:

97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York City Tenement.
By Jane Ziegelman.
We came across this book while thinking about family heirloom recipes for our new cookbook. It’s a fascinating and personal look at food and cultural history.

Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness. By Lisa M. Hamilton.
Any book with “Unconventional Famers” in the title would capture our attention. But these three portraits of pioneering new farmers kept our attention until the last page.

Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life.
By Justine Picardie.
This might seem like an odd choice for us to read “down on the farm,” but it’s an irresistibly intimate look at our favorite style icon. (Plus, did you know the name “Beekman 1802” was inspired by “Chanel No. 5?”)

Freedom: A Novel
By Jonathan Franzen.
For those of you who haven’t yet succumbed to the publicity around Franzen’s latest masterpiece, go ahead and give in. It will be an American classic. This is the kind of literature for which you’re going to want the hardcover.

The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food
By Ben Hewitt.
This book nearly made us jealous! This story of how the small town of Hardwick Vermont found new life in the local food movement is great validation for all small towns like Sharon Springs who are rediscovering their agricultural roots.

by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

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Carol Riley

Josh, Just read your Memoir, I am not myself these days. Read it in one day. Could not put it down. All I want to do is hug you. Already read Bucolic Plague and passed it to all my friends. I am looking forward to this season's show. Love you both. Carol

Donna H

97 Orchard is a dangerous read!! I've never encountered a book that made me so hungry! I broke down and cooked up some biscuits while the story focused on Mr. Glockner and Vienna bread. Yesterday, I had to resist making paczkis with poppyseed filling while reading about Mrs Gumpertz. I'm going to be in serious trouble once I get to the Baldizzis' part of the story!!! Thank you for the recommendation, but you should have also included a hunger pangs warning! Now back to the book……


pam knowles

Hi Josh, the tenement museum is one of our favorite places, I'll have to take a look at the cookbook about it, I just finished your book & loved it! You have such great stories. Thanks for sharing the adventure!

Looking forward to seeing your show again.


that one about the immigrant familys sounds very interesting.

I recently finished TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD……..sure I read it when I was a teen (and I loved it) but I wanted to read it as an adult and see if I felt the same way. I do.

Lauren Starkey

Just got an email from my local bookstore with notice of a new children's book, Llama Llama Holiday Drama! Apparently it's fourth in a series that includes Llama Llama Mad at Mama. Has Polka Spot been moonlighting? She may be secretly collaborating with Vermont author Anna Dewdney!


Hi guys!

I am loving 97 Orchard so much that I am going to include parts of it in my lesson plans for the upcoming January semester! Our baking students will benefit greatly from learning the "back story" of so many of our treasured, classical dishes.


Try and read something by the Mississippi writer by the name of Eudora Welty. She writes about the south and the importance of a sense of place and family. Her writings are magical and take you away from the crazy mundane existence of everyday life. She is quite enjoyable. Then if you are ever in Jackson, Mississippi, stop by her house museum and get a closer look at the home from which she wrote many of her great stories.


I Josh and Dr Brent! I finished reading your book the other day and just now made it to your website. Josh, your book was a gift to me from a fellow friend who lives on a farm in PA, and I needed something to keep me busy during these long, cold nights in Moldova. Unfortunately it was so good that I couldn't put it down!

Thanks for sharing your story- and your book recommendations! It's fun to look through your website now and be able to say things like, "Yes, I do know that Beekman 1802 was named after Chanel No. 5 because I read it in their book!"

I also thought of your story of your first turkey as I cooked my first turkey with some of my students last week. Luckily my host mom took care of the dirty part (although I need to teach her the vodka trick). She kept saying the turkey was going to be "big" because it was from last year… and I couldn't stop thinking about your 1 year old turkey. I think ours compared to yours. In fact, when I asked my boyfriend to carve the turkey he said, "This may sound bad, but I've never carved a turkey this small before".

Take care, and I hope to stop by the store in a couple years when I finish my service here!

Take care, stay warm, and try to keep those zombie flies out of the winter soup!



Josh, I just finished your book The Bucolic Plague. Great reading, you guys are great. My wife and I were up in Cooperstown in November with friends of ours. It's an annual trip just to get away. We stay at the Meadowlark Inn just down the road from you. We have become friends with the owners. We drove over to see your store and get a peak at your farm. We were hoping to see you guys but no luck. We did get a glimpse of Farmer John with the tractor. Hopefully we will bump into you guys next year.

Best of luck


paige sprenkel

dr brent- i found it!! ding dong merrily on high- but what version is it you guys used? (there are only about a million)it will take me forever to sort through them all.

paige sprenkel

dr brent i'll lok forward to that!!! could you please include the name of the song on the christmas video with all the animals??!! the one with the goats eating the tree had it listed at the end, but the other one did not.i can't seem to find anyone who can identify it for me. happy thanksgiving.paige

paige sprenkel

josh and brent- love everything about you guys!!!!!!maybe a list of favorite music could be another blog.??!! josh had some listed in the back of "i am not myself these days" and from that i have alot of new music that i love.


"97 Orchard" is excellent — I'm so glad you mentioned it here as I've been talking it up to people lately.

janice boland

Am reading Bucolic Plague – GREAT GREAT BOOK

Can't get your TV show 'cause have antenna TY – holding out against

cable and the monthly $$$ etc.

So hope more books are on your horizon, love your writing style, voice, observations, actvities and your friends and neighbors

Did a little organic homestead farming in the 90's – chickens, geese, herbs, veggies, and lovely fruit until the varmints [including a fox family that adored fresh chicken] discovered our discovered our little farmyard, garden, and orchard. We were willing to share but they weren't.

We also found delicious nourishment by foraging with a local naturalist,a Lenape herbalist and some wise Native Americans.

Now we hunt and gather at farmers' markets and local growers.

Sue Roegge

Thanks for the idea. And just in case there is anyone reading this who hasn't heard what a fantastic writer Josh is….Josh is a fantastic writer! The Bucolic Plague would be great for anyone. Maybe not INMTD.

o/t: loved your Thanksgiving episode last year. The debate over boxed vs. scratch etc.

I really think Both of you are right, don't you? or neither of you…I'm thankful you shared your lives with us this year.

Sue Roegge

Josh and Brent…help please! I am tempted to get Deeply Rooted for my father in law. He loves to read and is a farmer. He is also an educated Democrat but a little curmudgenly (sp?). I think he is slightly "amused" by organic farming but I'm sure has never regretted his own use of pesticides etc.

He and my mother in law go to elder hostels all year and he loves to learn BUT….would this book come off as preachy at all? Josh, would you give it to any Wisconsin farmers you know simply as a good read? Or is there a chance it would slam their farm practices too much?


Linda Finch


I just finished reading your book. What I would say is: Fantastic, a wonderful read, I'm sad I finished! Thank you for signing it, I have decided the xo are a hug and a kiss to me,a 66 year old gramma! My entire family is waiting in line to borrow my copy and settle in for the winter reading it! Dr. Brent has to be so proud of you.


Another good city-to-farm story is the book "The Dirty Life: on Farming, Food, and Love" by Kristin Kimball. She was a writer in New York City who fell in love with a farmer…. She and her husband operate Essex Farms in Essex, NY up near Lake Champlain. What I love is that they use horses instead of tractors whenever possible! wow.


Hello Josh & Brent. I purchased The Bucolic Plague yesterday and am on page 275. I stopped to order some baby soap and cheese. 🙂 As I read the book, I'm sad there were so many struggles the first year!!! The fact you made it thru moving, starting a new business, losing your jobs, etc etc etc is a testament to your love. Love the show. Take Care!

Becky from Indy


Thanks for the reading list! I have requested all from my library and they are sitting in a neat pile on my coffee table right now. Loved Bucolic Plague. Another book please!


Thanks! I read The Bucolic Plague cover to cover today and would trust any reading suggestion from such a great writer. Oh, and thanks too for offering unscented soap. I'm buying myself some for Christmas right now.


Angye – Austin, TX


I liked Freedom – reading about other families with 'issues' always make me feel better about my own crazy family.


I'm reading you Josh's book right now…The Bucolic Plague. Halfway through, and awesome. I have been gardening my whole life, and I know that if worse came to worse…I could grow my own food.

I am going to check out the books recommended here, and Josh's other books, for sure.

Just a recommendation..at the same time I picked up your book, I also picked up another. It's called "Sh*t My Dad Says" by Justin Halpern. It's very, very funny. A good read at the end of a long day spent weeding.


Great reading list!

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen is one I chose for my reading group. Can't wait to begin. I ran out and bought as soon as I heard him on NPR and read reviews.

Have you ever heard David Garrard Lowe speak on Coco Chanel? He is fantastic! He is probably the most popular lecturer at the Met in NYC.



sarah miller

Gentlemen…consider picking up Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish. It's about an Iowa farm during the Depression. A most entertaining read and, frankly, will make you feel lazy and unproductive.

Lauren Starkey

Love, love, love getting reading recommendations! Especially after a weekend in which I turned our guests on to your show…we watched all 10 episodes! “Haunting” was perfect last night. I have to add Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianne Wiggins. The best book I’ve read in a decade. Simply incredible.

John McPherson

Many thanks for your latest additions to my reading list. I would like to add to your list "Love and Summer" by the masterful William Trevor. It is a deceptively simple, deeply moving and beautifully written story which centers on "will she or won't she." Also "Flush," Virginia Woolf's charming "biography" of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's spaniel. Happy reading!

teri tighe

I love when you give some ideas for reading. I have a couple of your lists that I need to find the books. I'm really interested in 97 Orchard and some of your farming books from one of your other lists.

Thanks for sharing!!



These titles ALL sound interesting and appealing to me. Hmmmm ….. which one to begin with?

Thanks for sharing your list!