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BOOK REVIEW: “Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: A Master Gardener’s Guide to Planting, Seed Saving, and Cultural History” by Willliam Woys Weaver

Apr 25, 2018
“Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: A Master Gardener’s Guide to Planting, Seed Saving and Cultural History” ( (Voyageur Press; $40.00/hardcover) by William Woys Weaver, has always been a book for gardeners and cooks interested in unique flavors, colors, and history in their produce. This updated edition of the classic best seller featuring 100 color photos has been improved throughout with growing zones, advice, and new plant entries. Line art has been replaced with lush, full-color photography. Yet at the core, this book delivers on the same promise it made two decades ago. It’s a comprehensive guide based on meticulous first-person research to these 300+ plants, making it a book to come back to season after season.

Originally published in1997, “Heirloom Vegetable Gardening” is a timeless reference because the subject is timeless. Since its initial publication the subject has become more important. The farm-top-table revolution is opening new appreciation and interest in real food locally grown. It’s not a trend, and with every year, more people are looking for education and information about their food supply: Who owns the seeds? Who controls food sources, and how does food nourish us? These questions and conversations are ongoing for every generation, for gardeners and chefs. Ultimately, “Heirloom Vegetable Gardening” is about food, according to Weaver, saying: “this is a book construed around food stories, and why this food is important to our identity.”

* * * * *

William Woys Weaver is an internationally known food historian and a rare four-time winner of the prestigious IACP/Julia Child Cookbook Awards. Weaver, a master gardener, has been featured on such national programs as Good Morning America (with Julia Child), has appeared in many special food documentaries, including Terrapin, which won an Emmy; and has been the subject of special articles in Americana, Food & Wine, Food Arts, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, and Country Living. He maintains the Roughwood Seed Collection of heirloom food plants at the historic Lamb Tavern in Devon, Pennsylvania.


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