The Food Explorer by Daniel Stone

The Food Explorer

The true adventures of David Fairchild, a late-nineteenth-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 nineteenth 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, s...

Details The Food Explorer

TitleThe Food Explorer
Release DateFeb 20th, 2018
PublisherDutton Books
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Food and Drink, Food, Biography, Environment, Nature, Travel, Science

Reviews The Food Explorer

  • Jim Fonseca
    The true story of David Fairchild (1869-1954), a botanist who traveled the world looking for new and better food crops for American farmers. It’s not a full biography because it focuses mainly on the 20-years or so that he was actively overseas collecting new seeds, cuttings and sprouts.Fairchild collected specimens until his late 30’s. This was the 1880’s – 1890’s and much of South America, Africa, India and China were wild, primitive,...
  • Renee
    Book DescriptionThe true adventures of David Fairchild, a late-nineteenth-century food explorer who traveled the globe and introduced diverse crops like avocados, mangoes, seedless grapes--and thousands more--to the American plate.My ThoughtsIn the 19th century, preparing meals and eating was solely viewed as necessary for survival. People didn't go on culinary adventures or look for exotic ingredients to create flavor combinations to delight the...
  • Bandit
    Just about every time you eat a fruit, vegetable or just something exciting that came from the earth, not was killed for you or by you, you have David Fairchild to thank. And no one even knows about him or at least not enough and I’m so glad there’s now this book to educate and finally give credit where credit’s due. For any discriminate palate, every vegetarian, anyone who likes or loves food, David Fairchild is The Man. Tirelessly traveli...
  • Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
    This was an unexpected gem of a book. It's the story of David Fairchild, an American botanist who traveled the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to find plants and fruits that were unknown in America. He sent cuttings and seeds back home to the U.S. Department of Agriculture so that the specimens could be studied and possibly transplanted and who knows, maybe become popular. And in fact, that happened many times, and explains how we...
  • Richard Reese
    Cue up the marching band, majorettes, flag-waving veterans, and cheering crowds. The Food Explorer by Daniel Stone is a proud celebration of American greatness. The hero of the story is David Fairchild (1869–1954), a botanist and agricultural explorer. Working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, his group was responsible for sending home seeds and cuttings of thousands of plants from nations around the world. The goal was to expand the vari...
  • Alisha
    Wow. I am not normally a voracious page-turner of non-fiction, but this one did it for me.This is the true story of David Fairchild, a man who was responsible for immeasurably enriching America's agriculture. Does that sound dull? It's not. If you're like me, you love food. If you're like me, you maybe also consider yourself fairly willing to try new things and food of different ethnicities. BUT, none of us can escape that we are probably pretty ...
  • Alison
    A wonderful story about the life of David Fairchild a botanist, who traveled the world bring back many new crops and plants for North Americans to enjoy.This story along with all of the fascinating people Fairchild knew, and worked with was exceptionally fun to read. So much information, not only about plants but of the people as well, who against many odds brought these plants to North America. How to ship, pack and eventually grow and get peopl...
  • Ren
    *3.5. Tons of interesting information and mostly well-written, just dragged a little in some parts. I learned so much though, this book is an education in and of itself.
  • Abby
    An excellent story of how so much of our food came to be accessible to us - through the dedication of several men committed to exploring the diverse world of plants. I really enjoyed this, especially toward the end. How lucky we are for David Fairchild and his colleagues!
  • Sarah Rosenberger
    I was looking forward to this book for months, but just didn't end up loving Stone's writing style or his audiobook narration. I also think I was hoping for more about the early Columbian Exchange, because it seemed like half the time a new fruit was discussed, it was like "well, this was technically already growing in the US, but Fairchild introduced a hardier, more popular variety." I might have liked it more if I went into it without any expec...
  • Nicholas Bobbitt
    While this is an intriguing story, I don't know that Stone does it justice with his writing.
  • Chris
    Informative and fascinating. I grew up a mile from David Fairchild’s estate, “In the Woods,” in North Chevy Chase and had not heard of him or the estate. If you enjoy stories of English eccentric explorers then you will enjoy this tale of American plant nerds and eccentrics. Although the book is about Fairchild and his stewardship of food exploration we meet many interesting characters who deserve books in their own right: foremost among th...
  • Maria
    I don't think I could dream up a premise for a non-fiction book i would like more. Botany? Food? 20th century exploration? There were agricultural explorers??! Sure, there were some creepy colonial dynamics but really what could be cooler than getting to travel around and learn all about what types of plant people grew and ate? And the book is full of interesting gems - i had no idea that when the Japanese first shipped us the cherry trees to lin...
  • Jen
    Very interesting.
  • Moti
    "Voices as pointed as their hats"??? What does that even mean?Who founded the Red Cross? - it wasn't Clara Barton.People in Australia celebrate with pies, curry and lamb chops??In 1897 Australia wasn't federated so there was no Australian Department of Agriculture. I assume he meant New South Wales."Developing governments, especially those, like Australia, endowed with money from a foreign crown..." What? What money from a foreign crown? In 1897 ...
  • Angie Boyter
    Meals must have been pretty dull in the nineteenth century. My high-school history class made a big deal of the scenes where Native Americans introduced European settlers to maize, but no one told us how many foods we take for granted today were not found in North America until someone began importing them for farmers to grow locally. Without major efforts to introduce them to American farms we would not have items like asparagus, bananas, or eve...
    I enjoy the story of David Fairchild a lot and the author was able to describe his life and epic travels in a very interesting way. More an adventure book than a biography, Highly recomendable. La storia del botanico David Fairchild mi é piaciuta parecchio e l'aútore é stato in grado di descrivere la sua vita e i suoi viaggi complicatissimi (ai tempi) in modo da scrivere piú un libro di avventure che una biografia. Da leggere!THANKS TO EDELWE...
  • Feiroz Humayara
    This biography of David Fairchild, the nineteenth century adventurer-botanist, narrates the story of his travels across the latitudes and back again in search of plants that went on to revolutionise how and what America eats. Needless to say, me being both a foodie and someone interested in plant genetics, this book had my full attention just by reading the synopsis.One does not usually think that a scientist could have made America into the dive...
  • Dan Russell
    Here is the story of David Fairchild, a Victorian gentleman who had an urge for adventure, and accidentally met up with Barbour Lathrop, a rich Victorian gentleman with a wanderlust and a need to be recognized. Together, with Lathrop funding Fairchild and providing encouragement (along a never-ending need to be idolized), they went around the world in search of new crops for American farmers to grow for market. Most surprisingly, Fairchild found ...
  • Dave
    As an avid "plant-o-phile," I enjoyed this book. I grow a number of "exotic" fruits and plants that David Fairchild found or introduced to the U.S. I've also visited Fairchild Gardens in Florida a number of times without knowing that much about the man who's garden bears his name. Fairchild lived during the "golden age" of plant exploration—tales of harrowing adventures in steamy, dangerous, tropical forests in search of the next rare plant. I ...
  • Benjamin
    I should have enjoyed this;I wanted to, but couldn't.The narrative pace didn't appeal to me. It would jump ahead to tell part of the story in depth, then revert back in time just to slog along trying to catch up before repeating the cycle again. I also felt there were too many side stories. Fairchild's work is interesting enough, touching on many political, ethical, and ecological issues, why do I care about the life of his wealthy benefactor? Ju...
  • Jon Letman
    This is delicious book will hold great appeal to anyone who likes food, plants, or travel. Whether you are familiar with the legacy of America's premiere post-Civil war plant collector David Fairchild or have never heard of him, you're sure to savor this new account of his remarkable life and legacy. Daniel Stone has penned an irresistible, quick-moving account of Fairchild's unusual journey from Kansas farmlands to the jungles of Indo-Malaya to ...
  • Britt, Book Habitue
    Let me start by saying I read a digital ARC (which isn't my preference but it was what was available).The digital ARC had MAJOR formatting issues (for example anywhere you had "ff" or "fi" or "fl" in a word those letters simply weren't present.... sometimes there was a space where they should go and othertimes not) that HOPEFULLY will not be present in any finished copy.Also, I'm desperately hoping that the meandering of the text and the sudden j...
  • Nicole
    3.75 starsThis is basically the history of how most of the food and useful plants came to america. Told like a story this book follows David Fairchild as he traveled around the world and discovered and brought seed of exotic food to America. In essence this is the history of today's every day food like the Cavendish banana, cotton, mango, lemon and other foods that you don't see today as they never had a big market appeal. It also tells the histo...
  • Abby
    Interesting read. This book is about David Fairchild who helped introduced thousands of plants to the U.S.. He traveled and collected cuttings and seeds to transform America's farming and agriculture industries, especially with being a major force behind the inception of the USDA. I certainly don't think much about how the food I consume got to my plate, let along what country it originated from, and how it was brought to America. Since Fairchild...
  • Mark
    Daniel Stone knows how to tell a story, and his account of the now-obscure USDA botanist David Fairchild reads with more zip and contains more adventures than most novels. Stone approaches the story from a few angles, but one of the most interesting (made obvious while not explicitly stated) shows how the early 19th century debate over plant importation is mirrored in today's anxieties over globalization. This is a fantastic read for foodies, tra...
  • Kiwi Carlisle
    It’s always a treat to read a biography that reads almost like an adventure story. The worldwide travels of David Fairchild and a few other intrepid botanists in search of fruits and vegetables are wonderfully exciting, with attacks by bandits, political feuds, accusations of espionage by multiple governments, scary inns and hostels, and whole shipments of specimens torched as “infected” without even being inspected. In just a few decades, ...
  • Jill Shaw
    Between 1894-1904, botanist David Fairchild transported thousands of plants to American soil. Here is a man, who had a reason to travel the world- to uncover exotic plant species unknown to US. Now Every time I eat an overpriced avocado, or mangoes, I have Fairchild to thank. It’s sad we aren’t educated enough to know about him but I am so glad this book allowed me to discover his globe trotting and death defying botany adventures. This book ...
  • Jillian Doherty
    A wonderfully immersive and readable account of how the US came to receive over 400 new imports ~ all thanks to David Fairchild's botanist spy skills!Kale from Croatia, mangoes from India, and hops from Bavaria. Peaches from China, avocados from Chile, and pomegranates from MaltaPlus 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 capit...
  • Richard
    Great book about David Fairchiled ( botanist ) that brought a lot of plants (vegetables, fruit, shade trees) into the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century from faraway lands, such as Malay Islands, China, Java, Brazil, Africa, etc. A lot of those include different varieties of oranges, mangoes, avocadoes, etc. that are part of mainstream American diets. Great adventures that also included sickness, warring tribes, etc. Good read for sure.