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, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781443451512
Branch Call Number: 634.11 H92g
Characteristics: 234 pages : colour illustrations ; 20 cm


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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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