An Unlikely Vineyard tells the evolutionary story of Deirdre Heekin’s farm from overgrown fields to a fertile, productive and beautiful landscape that melds with its natural environment.
Is it possible to capture landscape in a bottle? To express its terroir, its essence of place—geology, geography, climate and soil—as well as the skill of the winegrower?
That’s what Heekin and her chef/husband, Caleb Barber, set out to accomplish on their tiny, 8-acre hillside farm and vineyard in Vermont.
But An Unlikely Vineyard involves much more. It also presents, through the example of their farming journey and winegrowing endeavors, an impressive amount of information on how to think about almost every aspect of gardening: from composting to trellising; from making cider and perry to growing old garden roses, keeping bees, and raising livestock; from pruning (or not) to dealing naturally with pests and diseases.
Challenged by cold winters, wet summers and other factors, the Heekins set about growing not only a vineyard, but an orchard of heirloom apples, pears and plums, as well as gardens filled with vegetables, herbs, roses and wildflowers destined for their own table and for the kitchen of their small restaurant. They wanted to create, or rediscover, a sense of place, and to grow food naturally using the philosophy and techniques gleaned from organic gardening, permaculture and biodynamic farming.
Accompanied throughout by lush photos, this gentle narrative will appeal to anyone who loves food, farms, and living well.