Strange Harvests : The Hidden Histories of Seven Natural Objects by Edward Posne
'Exceptional...a subtle, fascinating braiding of travel, cultural and natural history... It is a pleasure and an education to journey with Posnett in these pages' ROBERT MACFARLANEIn a centuries-old tradition, farmers in north-western Iceland scour remote coastal plains for the down of nesting eider ducks. High inside a cast cave in Borneo, men perched on rickety ladders collect swiftlets' nests, a delicacy believed to be a cure for almost anything.
These luxury products are two of the seven natural wonders whose stories Harvest tells: eiderdown, vicuna wool, sea silk, vegetable ivory, civet coffee, guano and edible birds' nests. It follows their journey from the wildest parts of the planet, traversing Iceland, Indonesia, and Peru, to its urban centres, drawing on the voices of the gatherers, shearers and entrepreneurs who harvest, process and trade them. Blending interviews, history and travel writing, Harvest sets these human stories against our changing economic and ecological landscape, and makes us see the world with wonder, curiosity and new concern.