To purchase a copy

Title: High Up in the Rolling Hills
Author: Peter Finch

Category: Biography, memoir, manifesto, sustainable living
Format: Trade paperback, hardcover, ebook
Publication Date: April, 2013
Pages: 204
Recommended Price: $17.95 softcover, $27.95 hardcover, $9.95 pdf
Trim: 8.5 x 5.5 inches
Available from: iUniverse; Amazon in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan, Brazil; Barnes & Noble; Borders; Chapters Indigo in Canada
First Print Run: On demand (with iUniverse on-demand capabilities, there is never an out-of-stock situation)

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Remembering Elizabeth Harris on Riverdale Farmers Market Opening Day

Elizabeth Harris

Today is the opening day of the 2013 season for Riverdale Farmers Market in Toronto. I find myself at home on the farm. A gentle rain is falling on the lush spring greenery all around. Feeling slightly guilty not to be at market as the rain falls in Toronto, I find myself remembering fondly Elizabeth Harris, the founding market manager, on this her breakout day of the year. It is not possible to imagine not being at market were she still with us, marshalling her farmers and cajoling. 

Honouring Elizabeth, here is an excerpt from my newly-published book, High Up in the Rolling Hills:    

It was the irrepressible Elizabeth Harris who had given me my big break as a certified organic grower all those years ago. Then as vice-president of Quinte Organic Farmers Co-operative, I approached Elizabeth to apply for the co-op to be a vendor at her flagship organic farmers market at Riverdale Farm in Cabbagetown, Toronto. She sized up what we offered, 12 small certified-organic family farms pooling their produce to market direct to the customer, and she voiced her doubts. She was used to allowing only single farms to join her family of vendors. But she sized me up too and found something she liked or trusted, so she said, “Okay, but only as long as you bring all the farmers in to sell at your stand through the season.” “Sure,” I promised having gotten a foot in the door. It wasn’t to be, of course; only one or two farmers bothered to come in at all, but the first season was a roaring success for the co-op as a fledgling sales organization. I made sure we stayed on Elizabeth’s good side—as one had to—and, over several years, Elizabeth and I developed a wonderful mutual respect. I was awed by her tight control of the market, her fairness, her discipline with slack vendors, her amazing vision in holding it all together and bringing people together.
“Peter, I’d like you to meet Jamie Kennedy.”
“Peter, can any of your farmers supply three bushels of romano beans for a dinner for seventy-five this Friday?”

She would often call up and tell me about the latest new vendors that she was excited to have visited. She had such respect for farmers and for food produced honestly and in a fresh way. And she would ask my opinion and advice. Early on at market, I incurred her wrath. She had strong rules and enforced them. Vendors were not allowed to sell before the bell rang, right at 3:00 p.m. As I tried to sneak in a sale for a customer who was running off to work, a booming voice bellowed out from the other side of the park: “Mr. Finch, the market opens at three o’clock, and not before!” Last year, held up in traffic and running late in setting up, I upheld her rule when an impending storm told her to ring the bell early. “No, Elizabeth, that’s not fair; I’m not ready,” I pleaded. She agreed to wait, and for weeks after, she deferred to me to see if I was ready before ringing the bell. A softening, maybe? I feel deep down that she truly respected her senior farmers, and I was lucky enough to have been in that number.

Elizabeth slipped away from us, succumbing to cancer, but her amazing energy, drive and spirit would remain with us as we tried to honour her legacy and continued to provide for the table she set for us so passionately. It had been an honour and a privilege to know her; hard to believe that she wouldn’t be shuffling along on a glorious spring afternoon on opening day of market in May and that her voice wouldn’t be greeting me across the park: “Peter, who do you have helping you today? I’d like to introduce you to …”

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

What is High Up in the Rolling Hills all about?

In his youth, Peter Finch wove his way through a series of exploits and adventures. Travels took him to Canada, where a fateful encounter in the Rocky Mountains opened up new horizons. In midlife he and his wife Gundi made the shift to country living, ushering in a new phase in their life, as they set down roots in the hills and settled into a deliberately simplified lifestyle.

Peter relates how he and Gundi immersed themselves in ways guided by nature. As she created and sold glass sculptures, he sunk his hands and tools into pure glacial-till soils, sowing, planting, and growing culinary and medicinal herbs, heirloom vegetables and salad greens to take to farmers markets and restaurants in and around Toronto. Invigorated by the pleasures and health benefits of growing, selling, and eating fresh organic food, Peter reveals how he became a passionate advocate of traditional, small-scale, chemical-free farming.

High Up in the Rolling Hills shares the personal journey of an independent couple as they explore the vital role of nature, creativity, and healthy food in life.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Now available through major booksellers!

Softcover back cover

Thrilled to see that my book, High Up in the Rolling Hills, is now available through my publisher, IUniverse, and all major booksellers in Canada and the United States. Some booksellers and their re-sellers are offering substantial discounts on both hardcover and softcover versions, so shop around!

Go to any of the following and search for High Up in the Rolling Hills.

Or, better still, you can pick up a signed copy from me in person at the Rolling Hills Organics stand, any Saturday at the Evergreen Brick Works Farmers Market in Toronto,

June 7 Update
Tickled to now see the book now showing up as also available from Amazon:
in Brazil
in France
in Germany
in India
in Japan
in Spain

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Hard copies received

Thrilled to receive one hard cover copy and one soft cover copy of High Up in the Rolling Hills by Purolator today!

After years of penning, months of editing, weeks of revising, and days of waiting for the first printed copies of my first published book, it is immensely satisfying to see the happily colourful cover and flip through the 204 pages. I suppose I'm proud more than anything else to have accounted for my life to date and made some sense of the experiences that have driven and inspired me.

The book can already be ordered at the bookstore of It will be available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Chapters Indigo (in Canada) shortly. A Press Release is next. And I will be ordering a quantity of books to sell to customers at Brick Works and Riverdale farmers markets in Toronto. I think more than a few should be interested in my story.