E-Book Sale Begins August 15

Jeff and Jennifer Crist of Crist Brothers Orchards, Walden, New York (photograph by Bar Lois Weeks)

Jeff and Jennifer Crist of Crist Brothers Orchards, Walden, New York (photograph by Bar Lois Weeks)

Jim Hill, Hill Brothers Orchard, Alpine Township, Michigan (photograph by Russell Steven Powell)

Jim Hill, Hill Brothers Orchard, Alpine Township, Michigan (photograph by Russell Steven Powell)

TO CELEBRATE the 2013 fresh apple harvest and make America’s Apple more accessible, I will be launching a one-time e-book sale beginning this Friday, August 15. For a two-week period ending August 29, people will be able to download the e-book version of America’s Apple for just $2.99 instead of its regular price of $9.99.

The e-book will be available at the discounted price through Amazon’s Kindle or as a Barnes & Noble’s Nook Book. The hardcover is available through these sites, numerous bookstores and orchard stores, and Silver Street Media.

Evan Darrow, Green Mountain Orchards, Putney, Vermont (photograph by Bar Lois Weeks)

Evan Darrow, Green Mountain Orchards, Putney, Vermont (photograph by Bar Lois Weeks)

Anyone with an interest in apples and agriculture will find this an interesting read. Stories about the people who grow apples are interspersed among chapters on apple horticulture, history, culinary uses, and more — including a fresh look at John Chapman (aka Johnny Appleseed), and some of the challenging issues confronting modern agricultures, from labor to food safety.

America’s Apple includes an illustrated index of 120 apple varieties grown in the United States, and nearly 50 four-color photographs from America’s orchards by Bar Lois Weeks.

For more information, write to americasapple@comcast.net.

Roadside stand near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (Photograph by Bar Lois Weeks)

Roadside stand near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (Photograph by Bar Lois Weeks)

Apple Talks

Maturing apples, early July, photograph by Russell Steven Powell

Maturing apples, early July

I will be speaking at White Square Fine Arts and Books, 86 Cottage Street, Easthampton, Massachusetts, Sunday, August 11 at 2 p.m. My topics will include early apple growing in New England; heirloom varieties; John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed (few people realize that he grew up in western Massachusetts); and what to expect from the 2013 fresh harvest.

The event takes place during the opening weekend of Park Hill Orchard’s Art in the Orchard.

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I have two events scheduled for early October, at the Cheshire, Connecticut, Public Library Thursday, October 3, at 7 p.m., and the Keep Homestead Museum in Monson, Massachusetts, Sunday, October 6, at 1 p.m. Details to follow.

Apple Talks in May

Green Mountain Orchards, Putney, Vermont

I WILL GIVE A TALK about the history of apple growing in New England at the Southbridge Historical Society meeting Wednesday, May 8, at 7 p.m., at The Arts Center, 111 Main Street, Southbridge, Massachusetts.

On Thursday, May 23, I will speak at 7 p.m. on “Separating Fact from Fiction in John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed,” at the Maine Historical Society, 489 Congress Street, Portland.

I will have copies of America’s Apple for sale and signing at both events.

For more information or to schedule an event, email me at americasapple@comcast.net.

Get The Lowdown on Lowziness

IMG_8929I HAVE JUST EMERGED from a third day in the research library at Old Sturbridge Village, poring over a collection of early American books on agriculture donated to the Village decades ago by my late Uncle Mason. I knew my uncle had a strong connection to the Village (he was a trustee for many years), but it was only about a month ago—serendipitously as I was about to embark on research for my new book about apple growing in New England—that I learned of the C. Mason Powell Agricultural Library.

The collection is extensive, and there are some rare texts, obscure gems like The Pomological Manual, or, A Treatise on Fruits, Part I, from 1831, seed catalogs from the 1820s and 1830s, and The Compleat Planter & Cyderist, published in London in 1685. I will use some of the information I gleaned in my talk about apple growing in New England at the Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary in Wales, Massachusetts, this Saturday, April 20, at 1:30 p.m.

The Compleat Planter’s uncredited author has this take on cider apples: “The more Red any apple hath in its Rind, the better for Cyder, the paler the worse, no sweet apple that hath a rough Rind is bad for Cyder.”

The 1670 book Two Voyages to New England by John Josselyn reports that the New World’s apple trees are subject to two diseases: “Meazels” and “Lowziness.” I will describe them in Saturday’s talk.

Then there is this recipe for Apple Butter from the September 1838 edition of the monthly agricultural newspaper, The Cheshire Farmer, published in Keene, New Hampshire:

Apple Butter

“Our friends may rely upon it, that the recipe below, if regarded will give them an excellent article. The advantage of it over apple sauce is not only that it is more delicate and palatable, but it will keep for years without requiring to be scalded over. A family may make at once enough to feast for years. This is the general practice in Pennsylvania. When taken from the kettle at the close of the operation of making it, it bears about the same consistency as jelly; as it grows cold it becomes harder, and save its color, which is a dark red, it comes upon the table very much like butter, and answers an excellent purpose as a substitute for that article—quite a desideratum when butter is a quarter of a dollar per pound.

“Recipe—Boil two barrels of cider into one. Then insert three bushels of apples pared & cored. Keep the contents boiling, constantly stirring the same meanwhile till the same becomes as thick as hasty pudding. If you wish to give it any flavor by means of spice, or essence then is the time. The work is now done. Put away the butter in earthenware pots or jars, and thence cut out a lump for the table as occasion may require. It spreads upon bread precisely like butter. Try it brother farmers.—Doubtless, if well made, it would go quick in market.”

I will use my research with my recent book, America’s Apple, for my presentation on apple growing in New England, including a look at Massachusetts’ two famous apple lovers, John Chapman (aka Johnny Appleseed), and Henry David Thoreau.

I will have copies of America’s Apple for sale and signing at the event.

The Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary event, rescheduled from the February 9 blizzard, is free and open to the public (people are encouraged to preregister due to limited space).

A New Apple Book In The Making

Calville Blanc d'Hiver, a 16th-century apple originating in France (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Calville Blanc d’Hiver, a 16th-century apple originating in France (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

I AM PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE that I have signed a contract with The Countryman Press to write a new book about apples. Tentatively titled, A Field Guide to New England Apples, it will be modeled on an Audubon guide, with individual pages for 150 apple varieties grown or sold in New England. The new book will be ideal for visitors to orchard, farm stand, or grocery store, with lots of information about history, flavors, best uses, characteristics, availability, and ripening times.

In addition to the apple descriptions, the Field Guide will include chapters on the history of apple growing in the region, and horticultural background. The photographs of the varieties will be by Bar Lois Weeks, who took photographs for America’s Apple.

The book is expected during the summer of 2014.

Vermont’s oldest name in publishing, The Countryman Press began in Taftsville, Vermont, in 1973, and in 1996 became a division of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., the country’s oldest and largest publishing house owned by its employees. The Countryman Press retains editorial and production offices in Woodstock, Vermont.

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America's Apple coverAmerica’s Apple, a comprehensive look at apple growing in the United States, can be purchased as either a hardcover or ebook at select orchards and independent bookstores or online at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, or silverstreetmedia.com.

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Next up: I will give a talk on early apple growing in America, at the Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary in Wales, Massachusetts, Saturday, April 20, at 1:30 p.m. (rescheduled from February 9). The event is free. I will have copies of America’s Apple available for purchase and signing.

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2013 New England Apples wall calendar

2013 New England Apples wall calendar

Bar Lois Weeks and I also collaborated on 2012 and 2013 New England Apples wall calendars, with images from the region’s orchards, and information about varieties and the orchards that grow them.

We still have a few of the 2013 calendars left; if you are interested send $5 for shipping and handling to New England Apple Association, PO Box 41, Hatfield, MA 01038.

‘America’s Apple’ is now an e-book

America's Apple coverAmerica’s Apple is now available as an e-book, and can be purchased online at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and through a number of independent bookstores (check with yours to see if it is listed). The e-book, which sells for $9.99, will soon be available on Apple products, too.

America’s Apple is a comprehensive guide to America’s apples as well as the people who grow them, following the fruit from orchard to marketplace to table. The book features nearly 50 color photographs by Bar Lois Weeks, plus a photographic index of 120 apple varieties grown in the United States.

The book re-examines the legacy of John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, and describes dozens of heirloom apples. Chapters on culinary uses and apple drinks include some of the author’s favorite recipes.

Russell Steven Powell has worked in the New England apple industry for the past 16 years. He is the former publisher of New England Watershed Magazine, and produced the documentary video program Shack Time, about the artist shacks in the dunes of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

The hardcover edition of America’s Apple can also be purchased online at Silver Street Media, and is available at a number of orchards and bookstores.

For more information, email americasapple@comcast.net.

Live with Luca Thursday

Cranberries with apples by Bar Lois Weeks, from 'America's Apple'

Cranberries with apples by Bar Lois Weeks, from ‘America’s Apple’

I WILL BE A GUEST on the radio program “What’s Cooking with Luca Paris” this Thursday, February 21, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., to talk about cooking with apples.

The program will air on WKBK 104.1 FM, or 1290 AM. Those of you beyond the listening area can tune in online, as the program will stream live on wkbkradio.com.

Host Gianluca “Luca” Paris is the owner and chef at Luca’s Mediterranean Café, The Market at Luca’s, and Culinary Journey Productions, in Keene, New Hampshire.

Join us if you can!

 

 

 

New Events And Venues

Johnny Appleseed Jigsaw Puzzle, one of the many fanciful images of the man

Johnny Appleseed Jigsaw Puzzle, one of the many fanciful images of the man

NEW EVENTS, new venues, and soon an ebook of America’s Apple as the New Year begins. The presentations listed here will focus on early history, including John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, and apple varieties, from heirlooms to today’s high-tech, high-stakes race for the next Super Apple.

Thursday, February 7, 6:30 p.m.

The Many Faces of John Chapman

Fitchburg Art Museum

25 Merriam Parkway, Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Free

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Saturday, February 9, 1:30 p.m.

America’s Apples, from Sheep’s Nose to SweeTango

Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary

30 Peck Road, Wales, Massachusetts

Free, but registration is required due to limited space. Call 413-267-9654 or email Lduthie@norcrossws.org for reservations and information.

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Thursday, February 21, 9 a.m.

Guest, “What’s Cooking with Luca Paris”

WKBK 104.1 FM, 1290 AM or streaming live on wkbkradio.com

with host Gianluca “Luca” Paris, owner/chef at Luca’s Mediterranean Café, The Market at Luca’s, and Culinary Journey Productions, Keene, New Hampshire

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Thursday, May 23, 7 p.m.

Images of John Chapman: Saint or Buffoon

Maine Historical Society

489 Congress Street, Portland, Maine

Free

Copies of America’s Apple will be available for sale and signing at each event.

America’s Apple is available online at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and silverstreetmedia.com, and at these fine orchards and stores: Amherst Books, The Apple Farm, Atkins Fruit Bowl, Bolton Orchards, Booklink, Broadside Bookshop, Carlson Orchards, Johnny Appleseed Visitors Center, Lakeside Orchards, Pine Hill Orchard, Red Apple Farm, River Valley Market, Russell Orchards, Westward Orchards, and World Eye Bookstore.

An e-book will be available soon.