Praise for It’s a Long Road to a Tomato

“Keith Stewart’s essays afford a fine way ‘in’ to the compelling realities of life on a small organic farm in the twenty-first century. His writing is precise and evocative—immediacy bound with a strong meditative underpinning that is an enduring pleasure to read. Like all really good writing, it illuminates a great deal more than the subject at hand.”

—Sally Schneider, syndicated columnist and author of A New Way to Cook and The Improvisational Cook

“Keith’s writing reads with the force and love of nature’s elements—strong, refreshing, beautiful, and true. It’s as fresh as his delicious carrots, and as poignant as his incomparable garlic!”

—Leslie McEachern, owner of the Angelica Kitchen in New York City and author of The Angelica Home Kitchen

“Keith Stewart has been providing New Yorkers with magnificent vegetables for two decades. Now, as if to prove he can do anything, he provides all Americans with a compelling story about his own approach to farming. And at precisely the right moment, just as millions of people across the country are rediscovering the pleasure, and the importance, of eating close to home.”

—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature, Deep Economy, and Eaarth

“Ever dreamed of living on a farm or growing your own food? Here’s the clearest picture of what farm life really looks like. The romance of a pastoral life isn’t shattered by Stewart’s depiction of the gritty reality of farm life. They coexist, side by side, mirroring Stewart’s organic and integrated approach to farming. Stewart’s book is a gift to cooks. Now, each time I cook with food from a farmer I know, I have a deeper and clearer idea of what really goes into growing healthy and delicious food and why our farmers are heroes.”

—Peter Hoffman, chef/owner of Savoy Restaurant, New York City

“To combat urban crowding, copies of It’s a Long Road to a Tomato should be airlifted into major cities. The captivating charm of organic farming, so deliciously described in Keith Stewart’s essays, would surely have hordes of city dwellers packing their bags. Stewart’s stories transport me into the precious and full life of an organic farmer. I more than appreciate it; I now feel part of it.”

—Jeffrey M. Smith, author of Seeds of Deception

“Keith Stewart opens this engaging book by transforming himself abruptly from midlife executive into novice organic farmer. The twenty years that follow on an upstate New York farm are sampled here in true-life tales that—without denying the sometimes harsh realities of the small producer’s life—leave the reader in no doubt of the joys that keep this small farmer on the land.”

—Joan Dye Gussow, author of This Organic Life

“Here is a book from which a beginning farmer can draw not only inspiration, but volumes of practical knowledge and methods as well. Yet at the same time it is a book that us old hands can find virtue, honesty, and validation through . . . . And it is a book so carefully written and artistically illustrated that, I believe, anyone who picks it up will be drawn into its beauty and depth.”

The Natural Farmer

“Stewart’s beguiling and enlightening collection of essays recalls both the triumphs and tragedies, the demanding reality and the rewards of pursuing a life that twenty years ago Stewart decided would be infinitely more satisfying than the corporate ladder he was climbing in Manhattan.”


“This late-blooming farmer’s almanac is full of anecdotes, humorous chapters, tales of animal antics, and, naturally, an essay on tomato production.”

Dallas Morning News

“Whether writing about the love of his harvest knife, the reasons he has three tractors, or his loyal farm dogs, Stewart gives every aspiring farmer a realistic and enticing glimpse of small farm life . . . A treat for anyone interested in the realities of farming.”

Organic Producer magazine

“Keith’s easy prose weaves the events at the farm and market together in a way that illustrates his farming experience and the common struggles farmers face in coming to grips with the time.”

Organic Farms, Folks & Foods

“In interlocking complementary essays (most originating from Stewart’s contributions to Valley Table magazine) Stewart runs the gamut from growing the organic goodies to stories about the domestic and wild farm animals to insights into the political, social and environmental issues critical to agrarian life today . . . A shining example of how the plowshares and the paint brush still preserve our precious world.”

Delaware & Hudson CANVAS

“Lyrical in its realism . . . [It’s a Long Road to a Tomato] injects life into the often dry but vital topic of farm economics.”

—Fedco Seeds

“That diminuitive speck of genetic knowledge and prodigious energy we call a ‘seed’ will, when given time and suitable conditions, transform itself into a six-foot-tall tomato plant weighed down with sumptuous fruits; a tight green head of broccoli rich in vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidents; a purple plum radish radiant with color after its coating of soil is washed away; or myriad other earthly delights. It’s worth pausing, once in a while, to ponder this miraculous feat—life’s pivotal ability to replicate itself with a little help form the sun and soil.”

—from “About Seeds”