Monday, June 21, 2010

Joel Salatin's Books

Today I finally finished the last of Joel Salatin's books. I borrowed the first few from a friend and read them during my breaks at work last harvest. Since then, I've got all 6 books.

The first I read was Joel's first book You Can Farm. During my time in Virginia Joel signed my book and wrote "oh yes you can!" This book is subtitled:  "The Entrepreneur's Guide to Start and Succeed in a Farming Enterprise."  A veritable compendium of information, Joel pulls from his eclectic sphere of knowledge, combines it with a half century of farming experience, and covers as many topics as he can think of that will affect the success of a farming venture. Since visiting Polyface in Virginia I'm wanting to read this again. It'll come more to life having seen the farm and some of the ways they do things.

Next I read Salad Bar Beef and Pastured Poultry Profits. In these two books Joel covers all the ins and outs of raising Beef and Poultry. Note: Joel has since revised some of the ways he raises his cows after the influence of Greg Judy and Ian Mitchell-Innes.

Holy Cows and Hog Heaven is written for food buyers to empower them in their dedication to food with integrity.  Farmers who give it to their customers say that folks who have read it have a new level of understanding and a delightful attitude about the farmer-consumer relationship.  A short, easy read, this book will make you laugh and cry, all in a matter of minutes. 

Joel calls Family Friendly Farm his soul book.  Right now, four generations live at Polyface.  That requires vision, grace, and an attractive farming and business model.  The subtitle, "A Multigenerational Home-Based Business Testament" delineates the far-reaching implications discussed in these pages. It's worth reading just for the 10 chapters titled "10 Commandments for Making Your Kids Love the Farm."

In Joel's latest book, Everything I want to do is Illegal, he takes the time to rant and on about every regulation, law, government official, and more. Although Polyface farm has been glowingly featured in countless national print and video media, it would not exist if the USDA and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services had their way.  From a lifetime of noncompliance, frustration, humor, and passion come the behind-the-scenes real stories that have brought this little family farm into the forefront of the non-industrial food system. It'll open your eyes to what the small farmer has to goes through.


  1. I have read the middle of every Joel Salatin book (don't ask why... I guess that's the way I browse :-P) I should read them all through--they ARE entertaining ;-)

  2. Well, I have three and a half down and two and a half to go.=) Isn't Joel writing another book?


  3. Yes, I hear he's writing another but I don't know when it'll be done.