Wisdom of the Last Farmer: Harvesting Legacies from the Land

Released in August, 2009

Free Press/Simon and Schuster, 288 pages
Hardcover, Aug 2009 isbn 978-1-4165-9930-2

Order from Amazon.com

Wisdom of the Last FarmerHailed by The New York Times as “A poet of farming” and the Los Angeles Times as the “Rockstar Farmer” who “uses his farm as Thoreau did his Walden Pond,” David Mas Masumoto weaves together stories of family and farming, life and death to reveal age-old wisdom that is fast disappearing—and urgently needed.

When Slow Food activist David Mas Masumoto’s father has a stroke in the sprawling fields of their farm, the reality of his father’s mortality drives Masumoto to reevaluate the significance and meaning of farming in an information-driven, modern world. As Masumoto nurses his father back to health, and becomes a teacher to the master who had once schooled him, he reclaims the practical and emotional wisdom that they and their ancestors had learned from working the land. Realizing that he himself needs to pass on a wealth of knowledge to the next generation, he writes this impassioned narrative—part memoir, part life instruction—about re-connecting to the land.

In Wisdom of the Last Farmer, Masumoto farms stories as he farms peaches—finding the natural connections between families and farming, fathers and children, booms and declines, and relating them to larger, more sweeping themes of life, death, and renewal. His insights are beautiful, lyrical descriptions on how to nurture both the tangible and intangible and make them grow—and when to step back, surrender, and let nature or the market take over. Through Masumoto’s quiet eloquence, we see how our own destinies are involved in the future of our food, the land, and the farm.

David Mas Masumoto is the award-winning author of Epitaph for a Peach and other books, popular columnist, spokesperson for organic farming, and a fellow at The Kellogg Foundation. A third-generation farmer, he grows certified organic peaches, nectarines, and grapes on his family’s eighty-acre California farm. He lives in Del Rey, California.

(from Free Press/Simon and Schuster book catalog 2009)

Book Reviews and Articles

Rooted in Family: Father’s Stroke Becomes a Lesson in Living for Del Rey Farmer-Author. The Fresno Bee, September 6, 2009.

Wisdom of the Last Farmer: hardship and growth on a family farm. The Seattle Times, August 21, 2009

The Wisdom of the Last Farmer: Harvest as Metaphor for Human Life. The Washington Post, August 23, 2009.

Preserving the Fruits of a Season’s Labors: Organic Farmer David Mas Masumoto ponders preservation–and self-preservation. The Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2009.

Recent Radio Shows

Leonard Lopate Show, WNYC New York - The Cycles of Growth. August 17, 2009

Larry Mantle Show, KPCV Pasadena, Calif (Aug 11, 2009)

An Organic Conversation with Helge Hellberg San Francisco, Calif (Aug 29, 2009)

Steve Scher, KUOW, Seattle (August 25, 2009)