Praise for


"Fascinating...The Food Explorer tags along with a world-traveling Gilded Age botanist whose agricultural discoveries changed the American diet."

New York Times Book Review

WINNER: American Horticultural Society Book Award 2019

The Food Explorer provides “fascinating insight into how various foods found their way to our grocery store shelves.” It’s “a wonderful story and a piece of history relevant to anyone who eats.”

AHS Food Explorer book award
Daniel Stone transforms seemingly endless journals, letters and records into a meticulous retelling of how David Fairchild transported thousands of plants to American soil.
— USA Today
Stone is an amiable narrator who balances botany, culinary history and travelogue with fast-paced adventure writing and a well-drawn cast of characters.
— Wall Street Journal
Martha Stewart Living.jpg

"The next time you mash up a batch of guacamole, thank David Fairchild. The late-19th-century botanist traveled the world from Chile to Japan, bringing avocados, mangoes, and more back to the U.S. His adventures come vividly to life in The Food Explorer."

—Martha Stewart Living


"Who knew avocados, citrus and cherry blossoms had a spellbinding past full of smuggling, spying, tycoons and death-defying adventure?...Daniel Stone brings a forgotten era of American food history back to the table, with a timely twist."

—Associated Press

A delightful and beautiful read
— Alice Waters
Original, colorful, and irrisistibly charming
— Candice Millard, NY Times Bestselling author of The River of Doubt
Fantastic...must read
— Julie Mason, Sirius XM

An approachable history, entertaining, and especially rewarding to anyone with an interest in America's culinary roots.

—Baltimore Sun

Maybe you had some mango slices for breakfast this morning. Maybe the salad you ate with lunch had plenty of kale in it or some avocado slices laid across the top. Did you grab a handful of grapes for an afternoon snack or pick up a six-pack of American-made beer on your way home from work? In all those cases, and plenty more besides, you owe a debt of thanks to David Fairchild.
— New York Post
“[A] rip-roaring tale”
— Nature
A delicious piece of writing.
— Susan Orlean, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Orchid Thief

"A must read for anyone who grows plants, eats food, or just loves to read."

— National Tropical Botanical Garden

Part food book, part travelogue...The Food Explorer won’t just make you hungry, it will give you a case of wanderlust as well.
— Civil Eats
Look at the vast array of produce in the supermarket. Where did all these fruits and vegetables originally come from? And how did they get here? According to author Daniel Stone, we have one man to thank for the diversity of this bounty: David Fairchild.
— Sacramento Bee
The history of food in the United States can be divided into two periods: before David Fairchild and after David Fairchild.
— St Louis Post Dispatch
EMPLOYING DOGGED RESEARCH and close scrutiny of his subject’s letters, [Stone] delves into many different aspects of Fairchild’s life. Stone’s biography reanimates the legacy of an important contributor to the botanical diversity of America. Fairchild’s agricultural discoveries revolutionized the formerly bland eating habits of Americans and helped establish the country’s culinary identity.
— Kirkus
IN HIS ENTERTAINING FIRST BOOK, journalist Stone follows the unsung botanical hero who brought to America, from around the world, many of the foods that would become culinary favorites as well as others that landed with a thud...He captures the flavor of an adventurous age, using Fairchild’s voluminous writings to launch vivid descriptions of his travels.
— Booklist

"The next time you devour an overpriced slice of avocado toast, munch on some kale or serve yourself some quinoa, you’re sampling just a few of the crops that Fairchild introduced to the American public. The Food Explorer offers a look at his journeys around the world and how he changed the American diet."


This fascinating read will appeal to those interested in American history and food culture, travel narratives, and agriculture.
— Library Journal (starred review)
The Food Explorer does a wonderful job bringing Fairchild’s story to life and giving this American original some overdue recognition.
— Book List
Fairchild’s efforts are responsible for American familiarity with the Hass avocado, the hops that fueled America’s beer makers, and the Egyptian cotton that transformed the desert Southwest, not to mention kale, cherry blossoms, soybeans, dates, and many other items...Foodies and scientists alike will appreciate Stone’s informative and entertaining book.
— Publishers Weekly
“A jewel of a book”
— Prince William Times