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Amazing Illustrated History Of North American Apples
Dan Bussey might know more about apples than anyone else in the world. His amazing “Illustrated History of Apples in the United States and Canada” contains details on 16,350 different varieties, including their origins and histories, as well as 1,400 life-size watercolors that were made more than 100 years ago. But even the current 6-volume set doesn’t contain everything he knows about apples.
“We didn’t have room for an additional 3,800 watercolor images of old varieties,” says Bussey. “I’ve since collected descriptions for another 1,000 or more apple varieties.”
Bussey plans to do an update that breaks out apple varieties by region of origination. The 3,742-page, 7-volume set is impressive, but he thinks regional breakouts will be more interesting to people living in those regions.
“We plan to include more detailed histories as we learn them with names and dates.”
“People with stories and information on apple varieties have contacted me to share what they know,” says Bussey.
Bussey grew up in a house in the middle of an old apple orchard and later developed his own apple orchard with close to 200 varieties.
After he sold the orchard, a cider company began working with the new owners and developed a cider using Garfield and Minkler apples. Both varieties originated in the Midwest in the 1800’s and likely were used for cider then.
More recently, Bussey served as orchard manager and apple historian at Seed Savers Exchange, Decorah, Iowa. Currently he is involved in a project to identify old orchards on a 3,000-acre site of a WWII ammunition plant. His goal is to graft an orchard of apple varieties he locates as a memorial to farm families who lost their land to the plant.
Bussey has simple guidelines he follows for finding old trees and identifying their variety. “Go out in the spring when apple trees are in bloom and look for the white and pink blossoms,” says Bussey. “Identify the location, and then return in the fall to look for the apples.”
The 7-volume set has been sold primarily to agricultural libraries. Originally priced at $320, the set is now available for $220.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jak Kaw Press, P.O. Box 218, Mt. Horeb, Wis. 53572 (ph 844 567-5888; www.jakkawpress.com); or Daniel Bussey, 545 S. St., Ridgeway, Iowa 52165 (ph 608 289-2098; ciderdan@gmail.com).

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2019 - Volume #43, Issue #6