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Friday, April 4, 2008


THE APPLE; a history of Canada's perfect fruit (McArthur and Company, 2007,
161 pages, ISBN 978-1-55278-679-6, $24.95 paper covers) is by Carol Martin,
a former publisher and editor, once with the Canada Council, and now a
full-time gardener. She had previously authored books about rural Ontario,
including "A History of Canadian Gardening". This is a straight ahead
account of the history of apples in Canada, beginning with Champlain and his
saplings in Quebec City up through Sir George Simpson (HBC) and apple seeds
out west. And then into the 20th century. Cultivated apples, she says, were
a success in Canada because of their sweet and healthy addition to a boring
diet. They were better than the native crabapples. They can be dried for
year-long eating; they can be used for cider (both hard and soft) as a
liquid refreshment. Any wastage could be composted. Canadian apples have
long been exported to both the United States and Europe. Martin has provided
great photos from the past, focusing on orchards, people, and named
varieties. She has a dozen recipes from diverse named sources, but only a
handful of apples are best for cooking (cortland, spy, mutsu, gravenstein,
ida red). It is just too bad that the apple "industry" is tanking,
especially so in the drink area (Chinese imports). There is a bibliography
and some end notes.

Audience and level of use: apple lovers everywhere, libraries.

Some interesting or unusual facts: there are 2,000 named cultivars growing
in Canada, but fewer than two dozen of these names are recognizable.

The downside to this book: for a Canadian book, it needs a metric table of

The upside to this book: the illustrations are very good.

Quality/Price Rating: 89.

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