The Growing Season: How I Saved an American Farm—And Built a New Life

Ballantine. Aug. 2020. 272p. ISBN 9780593129395. $27. BIOG
Farmer, entrepreneur, and now author Frey traces her life from a largely unsupervised childhood roaming her parents’ farmland in southern Illinois to her current position as head of a billion-dollar company: family-owned Frey Farms, one of the largest produce companies in the United States. Similar to Tara Westover’s Educated, this part memoir, part entrepreneurial story, tells of one woman’s success in business based on relationships of mutual trust with other farmers, accompanied by her sheer hard work. Frey shows how successful personal interactions have helped along the way, as she brings fruit and vegetables, including the company’s signature pumpkins, to various states. The author also adds some of her thoughts on what it’s like to be a modern farmer, which are sometimes hilarious and often endearing. She has the inimitable quality of appearing not as someone who accomplished so much at such a young age but rather a person readers will enjoy getting to know, chapter by chapter.
VERDICT Frey brings a breath of fresh air to both the personal memoir genre and the business world. Her writing is crisp and her personality winning. A must-read.
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