13 September 2012

"the noblest of fruits..."

Conradus Schlapperitzi, Bible History, 1445

...or so thought Henry David Thoreau when writing his glorious paean to the apple, entitled Wild Apples, a meticulous account of the history and habits of both "civilized apple-trees" and those old, ungrafted trees which do not bear the burden of domestication.  Published by The Atlantic in November 1862, it was one of three articles commissioned by the magazine toward the end of Thoreau's life.   It is fascinating to read and a pleasant reminder that now is, indeed, apple picking time.  If this is precisely the sort of joy-making diversion that tempts you out-of-doors, a wonderfully helpful site, Orange Pippin, can direct you to over 2000 orchards in the United States as well as locations in Canada, the UK, India and Europe.  The site also provides (!!) an extraordinarily comprehensive A to Z directory of varieties you perhaps have not heard of, from the sweet and fruity Swiss Api Etoile, introduced in the 1600's, to an 1885 cultivar, the German Zabergau Reinette, a strong russet with the intriguing taste of nettles!

Educational plate, 1902

Leonard Leslie Brooke, The Three Little Pigs, 1904

Arthur Rackham, Hi, You Up There, 1915

Apple vendor, Boston Common, 19th c.

Kate Greenaway, A Apple Pie, 1886

(Images courtesy of NYPL Digital Gallery & Vintage Printable.)