||Like many of the people she writes about, Anne van Arragon Hutten
was born in the Netherlands, came to Canada as part of a large
postwar wave of Dutch seeking a better land, and entered a one-room
country school speaking not a word of English. As the second oldest
girl in a family of eleven she learned at an early age to help
care for siblings, iron her father's and brothers' starched dress
shirts, and help wallpaper ceilings in the dilapidated farmhouse
they occupied. At fifteen she was sent to a factory to help build
the family fortune.
Married at twenty-two, she produced four sons. Within a few short years she was working off the farm as a reporter for various farm publications, beginning with Farm Focus, published out of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Her regular column, Potpourri, drew a large and loyal following during its eight year run.
In fact, it was largely her work as journalism, and the research it demanded, that provided the education she had missed out on earlier. She has, of course, always been a compulsive reader, and took, first, her high school equivalency diploma, then a few courses at Acadia University. Hutten branched out into radio journalism for a period of four years, then became the founding editor and sole staffer of the Nova Scotia Christmas Tree Journal. Along the way she wrote a few books: Valley Gold, a history of Nova Scotia's apple industry; As the Days Go By, the biography of a ninety-nine-year-old farmer and entrepreneur; and Sheltered by the North Mountain, a fond history of the rural community of Lakeville where she lives.
After her husband died in 1991, Hutten dropped journalism and went back to farming full time, marketing perennial plants, cut flowers, berries, and homemade jams at the Halifax City Farmers Market. Being independent has been an extremely positive experience for her, since it allows her to choose work and projects dear to her heart.
Uprooted, her fourth book, was a long time in the making. The actual work of research and writing took four years, full time in winter, part time in summer. This book, she says, "constitutes my Master's thesis."