With over fifty years’ experience in agriculture and a penchant for inventing new tools and techniques, Eliot Coleman has solidly established himself as an organic farming pioneer. He has authored several books on his practices, including The Four-Season Harvest, The Winter Harvest Handbook, and his magnum opus, The New Organic Grower, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year. Coleman and his wife, Barbara Damrosch, presently operate a commercial year-round market garden at Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine.
You had been farming for over two decades before the first edition of The New Organic Grower was published. What sparked the decision to record your agricultural experience in the form of a book?
As early as the 1970s, I was teaching informal, weeklong [agricultural] courses, so I’d put together a lot of information on the subject, and I knew where to access the latest studies. Beginning around ’74, I was no longer running my own farm.