Cover Image: Apples of North America

Apples of North America

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Member Reviews

Fascinating. . .never thought a book about apple varieties through history and across North America would be so mesmerizing.  The photographs of the different varieties, and then those in the care and feeding of section had me flipping pages like they were the screens on my phone.

And the names!  Limbertwig, Twenty Ounce, Summer Pearmain, Stump, Reverend Morgan. . . .so evocative of a time and place.  Each variety page has all you need to know about that apple's sweet creation.

This was an informative and fitting read as the leaves twirl through the air outside my windows.

A sincere thank you to Tom Burford, Timber Press and NetGalley for an ARC to read and review.
#ApplesofNorthAmerican #NetGalley
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I received an electronic ARC of this book via NetGalley.

When I initially requested a review copy of this book, I did not realize I had read it a couple years ago in its earlier edition. While I was surprised to realize it was a book I'd read before, I wasn't disappointed! This is a lovely introduction to a wide range of apples grown in North America, and when I first read it, was in many ways my introduction to the great diversity of apple varieties still grown today.

The majority of the book is a guide to different varieties, arranged in alphabetical order. Of course, many of these varieties do have more than one name--so it is possible that an entry will not be found where you expect it to be, though in those cases the index will help. Each one-page entry includes a photograph of the apple, a brief introductory paragraph, and neatly arranged information on other names, history, descriptions of the interior and exterior of the fruit, important characteristics of the tree, information on disease resistance and vulnerability, season of ripening, uses for the fruit, and storage quality.

The end of the book includes listings of varieties by usage, an overview of how to grow a home orchard and care for apple trees, harvesting and storing apples, and information on how to make cider, vinegar, apple butter, or dry apples.

Because the author's remarkable depth of experience was primarily in Appalachian Virginia, there is an emphasis on this geographical context. This is not to say that the book is of diminished value to me as a northerner--and information is included on varieties that don't grow well in the southern United States at all (including a favorite of mine, Macoun)--but more to say that it is probably of increased value to a reader who is located in that region.

All in all, I am very glad to have read this book again--and find it to be a fascinating and easily understood look into the world of apples beyond just the varieties commonly found in a 21st century grocery store. It's also interesting in helping me understand what I like in apples, and helps me identify additional varieties I might like to try--especially nice now that I've found more orchards producing heritage varieties in my area.
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Northern Canada where I live part time is not exactly known for its numerous apple varieties so reading about nearly 200 of them was an ambrosial treat!  Not only does the author describe how to plant apples, grafting techniques and storage but also lists which apples are best for what type of food application (cider, butter, preserves, pickling, vinegar).  Most apples described grow in America with a few in Canada and Mexico.  The saliva-inducing photographs really lit my curiosity and tastebuds, so much so that I researched several varieties to learn more about this nostalgic and evocative fruit.  Thank goodness for those who brought bags full of apple seeds from Europe to North America hundreds of years ago to create many hundreds of varieties.  

Varieties (some common, others less common) are listed alphabetically with photographs.  Explanations include other names, history, descriptions, characteristics, disease resistance, season, uses and storage.  Reading "crisp", "tart and sweet" and "juicy" made my mouth water, especially those which are acidic such as Burford Redflesh and Chestnut Crab.  And then there are stunning trees such as Gloria Mundi.  Some of my favourite names are Esopus Spitzenburg, Fortune, Hawaii (taste reminiscent of pineapple!), Granite Beauty (whisper of cardamom), Hubbardston Nonesuch, Keepsake, Maiden Blush and Nodhead.  Each has a story.

If you like apples...who doesn't?...you ought to pick up this book and plant seeds of knowledge in your mind.  It is such a happy discovery.

My sincere thank you Timber Press for the privilege of reading this delicious and captivating book!
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Apples of North America is a diverse encyclopedic collection of apples. This author knows his stuff, including all the regional nicknames of various varieties, their regional descriptions, textures, flavors, best use. Growing up on an orchard, I was raised an apple snob, but I was often suspicious of the names my father gave to apples: was he making some of these up? Apparently not. There are few other places I've ever seen Wealthys, Tolman Sweets, Redfrees, Ben Davises, Rome Beauties, Wolf Rivers, Lodis, Twenty Ounces, and Winter Bananas besides the pages of this book (or on handwritten signs made by my father). 

Aside from the great apple descriptions and short histories of each, the author describes how best to plant and care for trees and goes into a brief history of cider, apple vinegar, dried apples, and other products.
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This is such an interesting book! I loved reading about the interesting history, from the photos and descriptions of tons of nearly-lost, rare, heirloom variety apples, to the tales of how they were discovered (some centuries ago), then lost, then found again. Burford's personal tales from his life in a family growing apple orchards for generations add wonderful color to the book, and his passion and knowledge come across on every page.
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Such an excellent resource! In the midst of apple season here in Wisconsin, I learned so much and will look forward to having this book as a resource not only during the apple picking, farmer's market season, but when there is an unknown variety in the grocery store. So nice to know what varieties are best for what. So many uses for apples.
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I wasn't sure what to expect when I got this book, bit I thoroughly enjoyed it! The author clearly has a passion for apples, and it shows throughout this read. I consider this part instructive and part reference as the author describes the origin of apples, how to plant them, the many varieties and nuances of each, and the steps to prune and support them during their growth. For anyone interested in learning more about apples or planting them, I highly recommend this book!
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This is an updated edition of a 2013 title. Tom Burford was known as "Professor Apple" and it shows. He clearly had an encyclopedic knowledge of apple varieties, and highlights more than 100 rare and unusual varieties here. Each apple variety gets its own page with a color photo and basic information, including history, uses, storage hardiness, etc. I agree with another reviewer that including a growing region would have been helpful for determining whether I could find certain varieties near me. (Personally I was also a little disappointed not to see Gravenstein on the list, since my family's tree has provided us with delicious pie and applesauce apples for decades.) An interesting and useful volume.
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Apples of North America is a comprehensive primer of North American apple varieties collected and curated by Tom Burford. Originally published in 2013, this reformat and re-release is due out 28th Sept 2021 from Workman on their Timber Press imprint. It's 312 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats. 

The author, who was an orchardist and agrarian/historian in Virginia had a lifelong history with apple varieties, growing, use, and culture. Much of that lifelong education is contained in this encyclopedic tome. The information is accessible and easy to understand and related plainly without fanfare. The information is presented in logical order: first a primer of apple varieties listed alphabetically by name with entries pictured and described in detail, apple uses with specific varietal recommendations, tree selection planting & care, and a discussion of apple products (cider, vinegar, apple butter, and dried) and how to get started with them. Each of the varieties is listed with a picture, name, alternate common  names, a short history where known, description, tree characteristics, disease resistance if any, ripening season, uses, and storage quality. 

The book also contains a couple of useful appendices: a bibliography for further exploration and reading, as well as a short metric conversion chart. The index includes the varieties by name as well as other subjects contained in the book.

Five stars. This would be a superlative selection for library acquisition, smallholders, home gardeners, garden groups, heirloom foodies, community gardens, and similar groups. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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Review courtesy of Netgalley and the Publisher for providing an ARC.

Reader, I confess: I'm a little obsessed with rare apples. I happened when I ran across a post on tumblr posted by the blog "mildlyinteresting-blog," showing a photo of a man sitting behind a table full of apples with a sign behind him that said "Heritage Apples. My hobby finding "lost" apple varieties." This man's name was Tom Brown, not Tom Buford, and he runs applesearch.org. I became fascinated with little known and hard to find apple varieties, and the "apple mages," as some people on tumblr called them. Tom Buford was easy enough to learn about once I started going down this rabbit hole of apples - a man who knew more about apples than I could have ever imagined. 

Needless to say, I was very excited to request the Apples of North America as an ARC. It's warm and funny. It's very real - none of the apples look pristine and uncanny. It's a niche little history and botanical survey of apples in the United States (not so much Mexico or Canada), but it's deeply enjoyable. It reminds me of my own late-grandmother, who would've probably enjoyed exactly this type of book, and who I so desperately wish I could share my thoughts about it with her. The book is jammed with information (pardon the pun), and gives me everything from characters and shelf stability to historical facts, to folk names of various apples. I would've liked to see more apple photos (some of them cut open, for example, on the entry pages, especially when the flesh was a unique color!). 

The major flaw here is mostly if you go into buying this book expecting a practical apple-growing guide for an orchard or gardener, a cookbook, or a regional apple "finding" guide. It's not really meant to be any of those things. I like it for what it is, though, which is a man who knows a ton about apples explaining about 200 of them to me in a warm and opinionated way. It's a beautiful coffee table book - an ode to apple heirlooms and what they look like and a little bit about how they grow, but there's no keys or maps for easy reference to locating where certain apples are. Oh, Buford will tell you where they're often found, but so many of these are vanishing quickly and only findable if you hunt for them. Still, I enjoyed this book, all the apples within, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a great book on apple lore.
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Upfront, I want to say that I fully intend to purchase this book upon release. As a foodie and backyard homesteader, I'm not only committed to the quality of what I grow, but the heritage and health behind successful food plants. 

There's far more information in this definitive apple guide than can be absorbed in one read. Probably not even in several reads! I presumed I would find the most value in the encyclopedic breakdown of over 200 apple varieties, but I was blown away by the amount of knowledge in the sections on apple cultivation, usage, and storage. Burford knows his apples and his devotion is inspiring. 

Apples are one of the most storied foods of all time, and this book is proof! I especially appreciate the alternative names of the varieties, as many times heirlooms are only known to their growers as the name they came with, and as such a sort of 'telephone' game ensues as varieties are handed down through generations. By preserving these names, we have the ability now to track how these varieties have evolved over time.

As an apple fanatic myself, I intend to do a more mindful sampling of apples this fall and come back to compare my notes to those of Mr Burford. I already purchase half a dozen varieties from local orchards for different uses (which I was pleased to see is not a bad plan, reading through the 'Best Varieties by Use' portion of this book. I may have to start sourcing even more varieties! (Side note- if you have been limited to store apples, treat yourself this fall with a trip to an orchard. The search will be worth it when the flavors of an apple from the tree explode in your mouth!)

If you are a foodie, orchardist, backyard grower, homesteader, or a consumer looking to learn more about the history of what we eat- this book is for you!
And because we eat with our eyes first, I must also say that this book has a gorgeous cover and does justice to the many beautiful shades and sizes apples come in!

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own, given voluntarily.
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What a fun and informative book about apples. You see them every time you walk through the supermarket but you don't think about the true number of apples that exist outside of what is in those aisles and the history of them all.
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The cover is very pretty and it gives you a pretty good indication of what’s inside. The title is very apt but the information inside is an insane amount of knowledge. 

   What did I like? The book gives you background on over two hundred varieties of apples. I really enjoyed the background information on the apple’s existence and then the book merges into planting trees and uses for the apples. I do find it funny though that certain store brands of apples don’t make it in the group. 

   Would I recommend or buy? If your looking for background on apple’s look no further. This one is a encyclopedic wealth of information on over two hundred kinds. It is one of the most interesting look at apple’s that I’ve read. Five stars! I would buy a copy, and it’s highly recommended if your looking for background on apples.

   I received a complimentary copy to read and voluntarily left a review.
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What I know (or knew) about apples: There a many different kinds.  Some I like and some I do not.
In this book, author Tom Burford has opened my eyes somewhat to a veritable cornucopia of apple varieties. So many, in fact, that this was almost overwhelming. Almost.

Burford gives a great deal of information on nearly 200 varieties of apples (this is not a complete list ... these are the 'exceptional varieties' according to the book's subtitle). This information generally includes a brief history of the variety, other names it might be known as, a description of the exterior of the apple (ie: shape, size, color), a description of the interior of the fruit (such as crispness, sweetness, etc), the productivity of the tree,  the fruit's disease resistance, the ripening season, storage quality, and uses for the variety (desert, baking, cider-making, vinegar making, etc).  I thought it was interesting that only five of the 200 listed mentioned that they were good for 'eating-out-of-hand.'

After the brief look at the different apple varieties, Burford also presents the reader with 'Recommended Uses of Apple Varieties,' a look at planning and planting a home orchard and tree care, and some apple products.

Burford clearly has a great deal of knowledge about and a love affair with the apple.  He comes from a family that has grown apples in the United States since the early 1700's and there's probably no one better suited to give us the 411 on apples. And in many ways I feel quite prepared for a trivia night or a series of apple questions on Jeopardy after reading this book.

But...

The bulk of the book is the look at the different varieties, most of which I've never heard of or seen in any of my local stores or markets (I live in the upper Midwest). If I wanted an Early Joe or Westfield Seek-No-Further apple, where would I find one? What does it mean when one of the best apples I've eaten in a long time (an Envy) isn't even listed? This is a wonderful list with some great insight, but it is not very practical from my standpoint.

I have thought it might be nice to have an apple tree in my yard (until I have to mow the yard, of course) and to that end, the information about planting and tree care is quite helpful even though I'm unlikely to take any action in this regard.

Something I didn't see here, but rather expected, was a growing zone.  For the 200 varieties listed, am I likely to find them in Minnesota?  In Colorado? Virginia? Florida?

There are a number of apple varieties listed here that I'd like to check out, but I'm not sure I'll ever find them.

Looking for a good book? Tom Burford's Apples of North America provides a great deal of information about nearly 200 apple varieties, as well as expert advice on planting, growing, and maintaining apple trees.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Outstanding reissue of a classic covering many apple varieties. Written by a life-long apple farmer, it covers both new and old varieties. You'll see beautiful pictures of each fruit and learn about its history and characteristics. Especially useful for those wishing to grow apples is information about storage qualities and best uses.

In addition to the information about individual varieties, about a third of the book has detailed information about cultivating apples as about methods for using them. This information is not recipes. Instead, you'll learn how to dry apples and make items such as cider and vinegar.

Finally you'll find listings of varieties according to use and growing conditions.
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Besides the fact I had to read this on the Netgalley shelf app... on my cell phone, this was absolutely fantastic. Despite this being read on my phone, which was tedious, I was able to enjoy every apple in full color. I love apples, probably my favorite non-berry fruit BUT I love apples even more after this book. I felt like I was right there with author as he was describing each apple. There were even some apples I have not heard of before, and I definitely want to eat all of them. There is an apple for everyone to enjoy.

I am definitely buying this at publishing!! Highly recommended!

Thanks to Netgalley, Tom Burford and Timber Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Available: 9/14/21
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Apples, apples, apples...the wonderful fruit...the more you eat them, the more you.....oh wait...wrong thing.

This cookbook is great though and I learned a lot of new apple facts which is actually a hard thing to teach me due to my partner's annoyingly vast knowledge of apples. A good read and a great tool for fall.
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Everybody, it seems, loves apples. They are good for snacking, baking and cooking and have been for centuries. Apples of North America: A Celebration of Exceptional Varieties by pomologist, orchardist, and apple historian, Tom Burford, is an excellent reference to have on the shelf to help everyone (both cooks and apples aficionados) with everything they ever wanted to know about apples and more. Not only does this book have photos and information of dozens of varieties of apples, but it also includes what each is best for, as well as how to cultivate apples, how to take care of the trees, and information on storing apples. The only thing this book is lacking is recipes for using apples. Almost every recipe book includes an apple recipe or two, so this shouldn’t be a problem for most. This information included is not only interesting, but also something anyone who has anything to do with apples will want to know. The prose is well-written and understandable. The history of apples is fascinating, and most will enjoy reading it.

All told, while this isn’t actually a cookbook, it is something that anyone who likes apples should pick up and read. The photographs are excellent; the information is excellent and timely, and the historical material is fascinating. It will inspire almost everyone to get their out their favorite apple recipes and use what they have learned to make mouthwatering apple dishes, both sweet and savory. Highly recommended for those who like apples.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review c19opy of this book.
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Apples of North America is a guide to all things apples. Thoughtfully put together by an author with deep roots in growing apples, this book contains a compilation of information on close to 200 varieties of apples. Topics also highlighted include how to grow and how to cook the many varieties of apples.

Apples of North America is a fantastic and all-inclusive guide to everything apples. There is so much love and care that went into this book, and the reader will certainly have no shortage of useful information. Of particular interest to me is section with individual profiles on each kind of apple, with information on its history, appearance, usage, and storage. I am an avid baker, and found my world to open up a little more with all of these details. Readers should check this book out for any and all things they may want to know about apples.

Thanks to Netgalley and Timber Press for this ARC; this is my honest and voluntary review.
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To have classic tastes, you must be sufficiently educated in classical roots, i.e apple culture. Apples are endemic to American society and learning about not only the gradient and variety of each particular fruit, but where it is harvested, who it was harvested by, helps understand the answer to “why”. Tom Burford provides incredibly helpful photographs of each different variety of apple with explanations of each fruit on the page. I love apples, and learning about my favorite fruit only made me appreciate the hard work of my local orchards that much more. 
Also, this is not a cookbook, more an encyclopedia of amazing apple seeds of information that will live within your mind forever.    

I received an ARC from the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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