Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Gathering Blueberries for Treats to Serve at Workshop & Reading

Blueberries, Photo by Tina Brown
Yesterday my niece, Tina Brown went blueberry picking at White Oak Farm in Renick, WV to help Ginger Must, Laura Miller, and Acting Executive Director Sue Groves, gather fresh off the branch blueberries for the treats that will be served at tonight's events with blueberry farmer and prize-winning author Jim Minick.  At 6:00 Minick will don his farmer's cap for a Workshop on Growing Blueberries, and at 7:00 pm he'll read from The Blueberry Years: A Memoir of Farm and Family.  

Between the four of them they picked 7 1/2 plastic grocery bags full of blueberries, Tina said.  "They were heavy.  We picked about 100 lbs," Tina joked.  The treats will prove an excellent compliment to evening.  
Jim Minick
Winner of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) book of the year award, The Blueberry Years captures Minick’s experience creating and operating one of the mid-Atlantic’s first certified-organic, pick-your-own blueberry farms. For a decade, Sarah and Jim Minick planted, pruned, and picked while also opening the field to hundreds of people who came to harvest berries. These pickers shared blueberry-flavored moonshine and sober religion, warm hugs and cool hats, and always bushels of stories. To give a larger context to their story, Minick includes brief chapters on national issues such as organic foods and new farmers. He also includes short interludes on all things blueberry, like the fruit’s many health benefits or the woman who domesticated this plant. Ultimately, this book tells the story of a young couple pursuing their blueberry dream. 

During the workshop at 6:00 pm Minick will share practical techniques and tips garnered from their experience on the farm applicable to blueberry farming in particular, and organic farming more generally.  For the 7:00 pm reading, he will become a storyteller, reading the more personal and purely entertaining portions of their story from his book.   

Minick is a Master Teacher for the Allegheny Echoes Writers Workshop this year, and tomorrow, June 27, will lead the Pearl S. Buck Writers Workshop to be held at the Birthplace in conduction with Allegheny Echoes from 10:00 am to 12 noon.  See this entry for information on the event.  
On the branch, Photo by Tina Brown
In addition to The Blueberry Years, a SIBA Book of the Year recounting the story of one of the first certified-organic blueberry farms in the mid-Atlantic, Jim Minick, has written two books of poetry, Her Secret Song and Burning Heaven, and a collection of essays, Finding a Clear Path. He has won awards from the Southern Environmental Law Center, Virginia Foundation for Humanities, Virginia Commission for the Arts, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Appalachian Writers Association, Appalachian Heritage, Now and Then Magazine, and Radford University, where he teaches writing and literature. His work has also appeared in numerous periodicals, including Shenandoah, San Francisco Chronicle, Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Appalachian Journal, Bay Journal, and The Roanoke Times

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