I review (or, more like, read and then write something loosely based upon) Rowan Jacobsen’s new book Apples of Uncommon Character in the fall issue of Vermont’s Local Banquet.
This book profiles 123 different varieties of apples; the article looks at the idea that holds all the profiles together – that apples are entering a second Golden Age. Not surprisingly, the article is called “Apples’ Second Golden Age” (I go for straightforward, pun-free titles when I’m allowed to come up with my own. . . which may be why people almost never use the titles I give to articles).
One thing that is really wonderful about the book that does not show up as much in the article is the pictures. The first three below are from the book itself, photographed by Clare Barboza. These are: Granny Smith, Braeburn and Honeycrisp apples, respectively.
If you want more of her gorgeous food and farm shots, and to perhaps fantasize about writing a cookbook so that she can come and make your dishes look awesome, here is Clare Barboza’s website: http://clarebarboza.com.
The next three shots are from Todd Parlo of Walden Heights Nursery, who I interviewed for the article. I like Todd’s way of describing his nursery. He remembers returning to the orchards of the Fingerlakes region where he grew up and seeing “orchards that had started to look like drive-in movie theaters” . . . he wanted to be in a place full of strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, apple trees, in “what is almost a living forest, fruit from the ground to forty-five feet in the air.” And so, he built that environment for himself and it’s Walden Heights Nursery. I used more details from Todd’s interview for this follow up blog post in DigInVT.
And finally, here’s a shot of a volunteer apple tree growing from my Mom’s compost pile. Not as exciting as the Granny Smith (also discovered growing in a compost pile) this tree produces only crab apples, but it makes a pretty entryway to her vegetable garden.