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
GenreNonfiction, History, Food and Drink, Food, Biography, Science, Travel, Environment, Nature

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,...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Jennifer
    One of the best food history books I have read. Be prepared - it is long and there is a lot of background information on Fairchild here. But once you finish, you will never look at Meyer lemon, the cherry blossoms in Washington DC, or avocados the same again! So rich in detail! Truly brings these people to life.
  • 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.
  • Dlmrose
  • 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.
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • Katie/Doing Dewey
    This book was almost everything I look for in narrative nonfiction. The author took an off-beat topic and turned it into a good story. I enjoyed reading it and learning about a new-to-me part of history. My only complaint is that it didn’t have any particularly exciting or memorable moments. I never felt Fairchild was in danger. There was no adventure or suspense. There also could have been more exciting fun facts. The only one that stuck with ...
  • Jen
    Very interesting.
  • Zoë Danielle
    I read the occasional non-fiction book but after picking up and absolutely adoring The Food Explorer by Daniel Stone, I've decided it's a genre I'll be reaching for way more often. When I'm not reading, I'm actually a plant biologist, but I think this biography of David Fairchild, a food explorer who traveled the world and introduced crops like avocados, mangoes and seedless grapes, to America, is an excellent read no matter your day job. Stone ...
  • 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...
  • Donald Cutler
    This book celebrates the American history without ignoring the less savory aspects of the period while also packing a few lessons for today's horrifying political environment. I highly recommend it for people who like narrative history and “aha” moments about facts and figures. Full disclosure: Daniel Stone is a friend of mine but even so I would have read this great story about the cool food we now see as local and organic and other such non...
  • 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 ...
  • Liz
    Very interesting and something I hadn’t considered before. I guess I knew fruit came from foreign places but I had no idea a man (or eventually men) explored and brought them to the US. It seems a bit sinister that he might have been stealing them...and his nemesis, the Entomologist—Marlatt, made a great point about the practice of bringing new plants also brought the possibility of pests and fungal & bacterial blights to the US. I would have...
  • Lily
    I always enjoy reading about history; and this book especially hit another one of my interests--food. I had never really thought that much about how different plants were introduced to the United States. Thanks to David Fairchild, we now have an abundance of delectable and healthy food and decorative plants. He (and those men that he shepherded after his travels) found the plants when he traveled around the world. This was during the early 1900's...
  • 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...
  • Lana
    I became aware of this book from a display at the Manhattan, Kansas Public Library and the series of events and lectures at Kansas State University, which is located in Manhattan, and at the library. I couldn’t attend any of the events because I live at the other end of the state, but my interest was piqued to read the book, probably most because of the “Food Exlorer’s” KSU connection since my husband, daughter, and I all attended KSU. I ...
  • 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 ...