nonfiction nuggets…about the oldest family farm in America

Tuttle’s Red Barn:  The Story of America’s Oldest Family Farm, by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Mary Azarian 

In 1632, John Tuttle arrived in the small settlement of Dover, New Hampshire after sailing for two months across the stormy Atlantic.  There he cleared land, built a small cabin, married a young woman named Dorothy, raised children, and supported his family with the produce from his acreage – peas, potatoes, pears, pumpkins and parsnips. 

His son, John Tuttle, Jr., took over the family farm when his father passed on.  And John Jr.’s son James took over after him.  Then came Elijah.   And William, who was in charge while America fought the Revolutionary War. 

One Tuttle used the farm as an Underground Railway station, and another bought the first Model T. 

On and on through the years, the Tuttle family farm continued to be passed down from father to son.   Grayson Tuttle is the 12th generation of Tuttles to own the farm, making it the oldest continuing family farm in America.  Years back one of the Tuttles began using the red barn as a farm stand to sell produce and maple syrup, hand-spun wool and sweet butter.  Now that farm stand has grown to over 9,000 square feet.   Sadly, in the past week the Tuttle family has made the undoubtedly heartwrenching decision to sell the farm.  I can’t imagine the difficulties involved both in running it, and in leaving it.

This intriguing picture book tells the story of the Tuttle farm.  For each passing generation, we see who owns the farm and hear about what took place during his watch.  The colorful, engaging illustrations — woodcut prints – dominate the pages, and show a fascinating progression of American history – changing fashions, changing homes, changing transportation, and the changing world of which this farm is a small part.  What an amazing family to be a part of!

NPR did an interview with Lucy Tuttle about the sale of the farm.  It is available to listen to, or you can read the interview, by clicking on this link:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128936466