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The Food Explorer

The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats
Narrated by: Daniel Stone
Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
Non-member price: $38.94
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Publisher's Summary

The true adventures of David Fairchild, a late 19th-century food explorer who traveled the globe and introduced diverse crops like avocados, mangoes, seedless grapes - and thousands more - to the American plate

In the 19th century, American meals were about subsistence, not enjoyment. But as a new century approached, appetites broadened, and David Fairchild, a young botanist with an insatiable lust to explore and experience the world, set out in search of foods that would enrich the American farmer and enchant the American eater.

Kale from Croatia, mangoes from India, and hops from Bavaria. Peaches from China, avocados from Chile, and pomegranates from Malta. Fairchild's finds weren't just limited to food: From Egypt he sent back a variety of cotton that revolutionized an industry, and via Japan he introduced the cherry blossom tree, forever brightening America's capital. Along the way, he was arrested, caught diseases, and bargained with island tribes. But his culinary ambition came during a formative era, and through him, America transformed into the most diverse food system ever created.

©2018 Daniel Stone (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Daniel Stone brings a forgotten era of American food back to the table.... Stone brings drama, humor, and perspective.” (Associated Press)

“Mr. Stone is an amiable narrator who balances botany, culinary history, and travelogue with fast-paced adventure writing and a well-drawn cast of characters.” (The Wall Street Journal)

“Foodies and scientists alike will appreciate Stone’s informative and entertaining book.” (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

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  • Robert Brummett
  • 25-02-2018

Good book, but would like more detail.

I enjoyed the book, but would have liked more detail about Fairchild's life and education. Also wanted to hear about how what he collected was propagated, maintained, and distributed by the USDA as well as how he got farmers and consumers to adopt them.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Tanya M. Spiegel
  • 24-07-2018

Excellent

What an unexpected treat! Our book club chose this book and I thought it would be boring. But surprisingly it is packed full of interesting information on numerous facts. Great surprise.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Gennady Gelman
  • 15-04-2018

Captivating

A thrilling story of a great explorer. spiced with fascinating tidbits and stories. highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Elan Sun Star
  • 11-03-2019

My favorite story out of tens of thousands

this book is an incredible testimony of what one human being can do in their lifetime to bring beauty and nourishment and meaning to the world and the eco system.
I am so very happy this book was written and even more so that it is in audible

I have long read tiny bits here and there of David Fairchild and as aplant centered person an d photographer myself I value this type of book above all else. As a biography it stands well above the others and it has meaning and purpose at its core...I treasure it in my library and have told hundreds of friends to get it and also to go to the Fairchild Gardens in Coconut Grove.

Thank you Daniel Stone..The narration is fantastic as well.
Bravo! 100 stars!!!
At this point in our evolutionary history on a planet racked by decimation of species this stands out as an example of what we as individuals can do to change the challenging path we are on as a species and a society and as an ecology.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Barbara Lundstrom
  • 23-05-2018

Myer lemon

I don’t think that I will ever look again at a Myer Lemon without tears in my eyes

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Andy
  • 27-03-2018

what you eat probably came from someplace else

This is a great story about the efforts of a few key people that resulted in the bounty of fruits and vegetables we enjoy today. These people included scientists, travelers, politicians and strangers in faraway lands. Daniel Stone does a great job bringing it all to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • T-Mish
  • 14-04-2019

I wanted to love the story.

I listened to the whole book. I kept thinking there will be a point where I would realize why I invested the time to read it. It never happened. Don't get me wrong, there are facts in the book that I wasn't aware of but those facts could have been communicated in 15 minutes. I didn't hate it, but I can't say I liked it.

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  • George
  • 07-04-2019

Not the worst book that I’ve read this decade.

This book answers the question of, can a book be interesting and boring at the same time? The answer is yes.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Alexis Michael
  • 03-04-2019

Did not finish

This was much more history and laundry list than story. Quite accurate and well researched.

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  • Paul R.
  • 01-04-2019

Fascinating

I really can’t say anything bad about this book. I learned a ton about a topic I had no idea about and was entertained while doing so. Highly recommended.