The Ghost Orchard

The Ghost Orchard

The Hidden History of the Apple in North America

Book - 2017
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For readers of H is for Hawk and The Frozen Thames, The Ghost Orchard is award-winning author Helen Humphreys' fascinating journey into the secret history of an iconic food. Delving deep into the storied past of the apple in North America, Humphreys explores the intricate link between agriculture, settlement, and human relationships. With her signature insight and exquisite prose, she brings light to such varied topics as how the apple first came across the Atlantic Ocean with a relatively unknown Quaker woman long before the more famed "Johnny Appleseed"; how bountiful Indigenous orchards were targeted to be taken over or eradicated by white settlers and their armies; how the once-17,000 varietals of apple cultivated were catalogued by watercolour artists from the United States' Department of Pomology; how apples wove into the life and poetry of Robert Frost; and how Humphreys' own curiosity was piqued by the Winter Pear Pearmain, believed to be the world's best tasting apple, which she found growing beside an abandoned cottage not far from her home.

In telling this hidden history, Humphreys writes movingly about the experience of her research, something she undertook as one of her closest friends was dying. The result is a book that is both personal and universal, combining engaging storytelling, historical detail, and deep emotional insight.

Publisher: Toronto :, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.,, [2017]
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781443451512
Branch Call Number: ANF 634.11097 HUM
Characteristics: 234 pages, 18 unnumbered pages of plates : colour illustrations ; 20 cm


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Sep 11, 2018

Murphrys' book, a small offering, comes at times, I believe, to being philosophy. The leitmotif is the apple, common yet at the same time divine. When the Europeans arrived at North America's shores the indigenous people were already cultivating their orchards. Then there's Appleseed Annie and others who spread apples far and wide. And then there's Robert frost: poetry and apples. Ghost Apples precedes at an unhurried pace reflecting the time when apple cultivation was much more common among a more rural population that had to grow themselves what they wished to consume. Written with great insight into an abstruse theme.

A love song to the history of the apple, with excellent illustrations and several sections about true and sad histories of the US Government's destruction of amazing Native American apple orchards to dispossess them of their land. The Ghost Orchard is a list of surviving old apple trees currently living in the North East US. This non-fiction book is part memoir and part travel writing, but enjoyable if you love gardening and apple history. Very much a book about Colonial history with interesting tips about using traditional street names to track where apple orchards once had been.
Rose in PR

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