The MAC presents a free virtual discussion with author Sarah Frey about her new book The Growing Season: How I Saved an American Farm — And Built a New Life, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 20. A free Q&A with the author will follow.

“Once I started reading the book, I couldn’t put it down,” says Martinez. “I highly recommend this book to everyone who likes an all-American inspirational story about vision, grit and resiliency. It will also be of great interest to students and anyone interested in entrepreneurship and business.”

Frey, one of 21 children (four older full brothers and 13 half-siblings from her father and mother’s first marriages), grew up in rural Illinois. Until Frey was 5, the house had no indoor plumbing. Heat was generated by a woodburning stove and the family ate mostly what they could grow or hunt. Frey had a very rough upbringing and suffered abuse from a farmhand on the struggling farm. At age 15, she moved out of the family house, and at 16 purchased a truck to take over the family melon distribution route. She grew it from 12 customers to 150 by the time she was 19. To supplement her summertime melon money, she planted 20 acres of pumpkins while also pursuing the dual credit program at nearby Frontier Community College to simultaneously earn credit towards a high school diploma and college.

Through hard work and determination, Frey was able to save the family farm and turn it into multi-state farming empire Frey Farms. Today Frey is known as “America’s Pumpkin Queen” and Harvard uses her story of landing a deal with Walmart for distribution at age 17 as a case study. There is an ABC television series in development of her story.

In the spirit of community, the Daily Herald is providing promotional support for the Book Club initiative and The Book Store of Glen Ellyn is offering a 15% discount to anyone mentioning “Growing Season Book Club.”

Sign up below to receive an email reminder about the event on Tuesday, Apr. 20. This free talk will be streamed here and on our Facebook.