Book Review of
When Lucie Amundsen had a rare night out with her husband, she never imagined what he’d tell her over dinner—that his dream was to quit his office job (with benefits!) and start a commercial-scale pasture-raised egg farm. His entire agricultural experience consisted of raising five backyard hens, none of whom had yet laid a single egg.
To create this pastured poultry ranch, the couple scrambles to acquire nearly two thousand chickens—all named Lola. These hens, purchased commercially, arrive bereft of basic chicken-y instincts, such as the evening urge to roost. The newbie farmers also deal with their own shortcomings, making for a failed inspection and intense struggles to keep livestock alive (much less laying) during a brutal winter. But with a heavy dose of humor, they learn to negotiate the highly stressed no-man’s-land known as Middle Agriculture. Amundsen sees firsthand how these midsized farms, situated between small-scale operations and mammoth factory farms, are vital to rebuilding America’s local food system.
With an unexpected passion for this dubious enterprise, Amundsen shares a messy, wry, and entirely educational story of the unforeseen payoffs (and frequent pitfalls) of one couple’s ag adventure—and many, many hours spent wrangling chickens.
This was a fun read. It is a modern day story of egg farmers.
I grew up in the country and currently live in the country. I have never farmed as a main job, but having spent my life in the country, I am well aware of the work involved. It is not an easy job as a side job. Making it your life is even harder. This book does not sugar coat farm life.
The author and her husband set out to farm a certain way, and they share the hard reality that hit them along the way. Farming is not the idealistic life many make it out to be. What I loved about this book though, is that the author mixes in humor with reality. If you have ever lived in the country or longed to live in the country, this is a fun read.
I will say that there are some politics related to food in this book. It is hard to write a food book in modern times without it. No matter what side you are on you won’t agree with everything in this book because it deals with the real life issues of trying to farm in our modern world. And the reality is that world is far more complicated than most people realize.