Join Us!

 
Like this book? Digg it!


Book Data

ISBN: 9781603582940
Year Added to Catalog: 2010
Book Format: Hardcover
Book Art: 120 color illustrations, B&W drawings
Dimensions: 8 1/2 x 11
Number of Pages: 352
Book Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Release Date: December 17, 2010
Web Product ID: 541

Also in Gardening & Agriculture

Earth User's Guide to Permaculture, Second Edition
Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist

Growing Great Garlic
The Holistic Orchard

Seed to Seed

Old Southern Apples, Revised and Expanded Edition

A Comprehensive History and Description of Varieties for Collectors, Growers, and Fruit Enthusiasts

by Creighton Lee Calhoun, Jr.

Associated Articles

In the Garden - He Keeps Ancient Apples Fresh and Crisp

New York Times - February 2, 2011

ON a cold sunny morning last month, Creighton Lee Calhoun Jr. stood in his orchard, surrounded by 300 heirloom apple trees, and took some cuttings, or scions, to graft onto rootstock for new trees.

“You have to have new growth, something that grew last summer,” said Mr. Calhoun, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, pointing out the smooth reddish bark of a young shoot on an old West Virginia variety named Jugg.

He snipped it off with his sharp Felco pruners, cut the supple branch into 10-inch lengths (each with a few buds) and wrapped them with masking tape in a bundle marked “Jugg.”

“Old-timers would bury them under the leaves on the north side of the house,” said Mr. Calhoun, 77. “But I put mine in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.” When the danger of a hard freeze is past, these scions can be grafted onto young rootstock.

The practice is lost to most Americans, who think an apple is a Red Delicious, which tastes like white sugar, or a Granny Smith, often picked too green and stored so long it tastes like the bottom of the refrigerator drawer.

“They’re strange-tasting, gummy, probably from long-term controlled storage,” said Mr. Calhoun, who would no more eat a supermarket apple than an old shoe.

Mr. Calhoun is the author of a recently revised compendium of 1,800 antique apple varieties, called “Old Southern Apples.” He is also one of a cadre of collectors across the country who are passing on their own rare apples, through scions and grafted trees, to younger men and women starting nurseries or preservation orchards, or simply planting a few trees in the backyard.

He has given his collection to young growers like David C. Vernon, who now sells more than 400 heirloom apple varieties at Century Farm Orchards, in Reidsville, N.C., a farm that has been in his family since 1872.

“Lee taught me how to graft and provided me with most of his old varieties,” said Mr. Vernon, 40, who teaches high school chemistry.

Mr. Calhoun has also planted 800 trees — two of each in his collection — at Horne Creek Living Historical Farm in Pinnacle, N.C., north of Winston-Salem, in the northwestern Piedmont. Visitors can now see the difference between a semi-dwarf, free-standing tree and a dwarf tree of the same variety, espaliered or trained against wires.

Mr. Calhoun’s orchard once held all 456 of the varieties he has wrested from near-extinction over the last 30 years. But recently, he has scaled it back to 300, replacing most trees with dwarfs, planted in rows and espaliered against wires. He prunes each one to a main branch, or oblique cordon, bent at a 45-degree angle. Bending branches increases carbohydrates in the buds, which causes them to flower and fruit more productively.

These dwarfs, planted two feet apart, grow to about eight feet, a good height for Mr. Calhoun, who doesn’t want to deal with ladders in his 80s.

A FTER World War II, salesmen from nurseries like Stark Brothers began calling on farmers, who took a good look at their color catalogs and decided it would be easier to order trees than graft them from their own old-time varieties.

Nurseries also realized they could make more money “selling six varieties, rather than 60,” said Tom Burford, 75, an apple historian in Virginia.

Mr. Burford, who grew up with more than 100 varieties on his family’s former plantation near Lynchburg, once sold more than 500 kinds of apples through his family nursery, Burford Brothers, in Monroe. When he closed it in 1994, he essentially gave his collection of more than 200 heirloom apple varieties to Charlotte Shelton, whose family runs Vintage Virginia Apples in North Garden, Va.

“The whole culture of the apple disappeared with Madison Avenue advertising,” Mr. Burford said, “when we started eating with our eyes instead of our mouths.”

Now, according to Renewing America’s Food Traditions, or RAFT, a national alliance of local food advocates, farmers and preservationists, the American apple has plummeted from a rich diversity of 16,000 varieties in the late 1800s to about 3,000. And the few nurseries that offer those rare apples are fast disappearing.

The consumer sees only about a dozen apples in the supermarket, and Red Delicious constitutes 41 percent of all apples sold. As Gary Paul Nabhan, the founder of RAFT, puts it: “That’s like thinking that all dogs are like Lassie.”

The disappearance of these apples represents not only a loss of delightfully different flavors and textures, but genetic diversity, and is something Mr. Calhoun has spent a good part of his life trying to prevent.

Read the original article.

Selected for Weekly Poetry Pairing - April 14, 2011

In our weekly “Poetry Pairing” series, we collaborate with the Poetry Foundation to feature a work from its American Life in Poetry project alongside content from The Times that somehow echoes, extends or challenges the poem’s themes. Each poem is introduced briefly by Ted Kooser, a former United States poet laureate.

This week we pair the poem “Peach Fires” with a March article from the Home and Garden section, “He Keeps Ancient Apples Fresh and Crisp.”

 


Poem

I’ve mentioned before how much I like poems that take the time to carefully observe people at work. Here David St. John, who lives in California, gives us a snapshot of workers protecting an orchard.
— Ted Kooser

Peach Fires
By David St. John

Out in the orchards the dogs stood

Almost frozen in the bleak spring night
& Mister dragged out into the rows
Between his peach trees the old dry limbs

Building at regular intervals careful pyres
While the teeth of the dogs chattered & snapped
& the ice began to hang long as whiskers

From the globes along the branches
& at his signal we set the piles of branches ablaze
Tending each carefully so as not to scorch

The trees as we steadily fed those flames
Just enough to send a rippling glow along
Those acres of orchard where that body —

Sister Winter — had been held so wisely to the fire


Times Selection Excerpt

In “He Keeps Ancient Apples Fresh and Crisp,” Anne Raver writes:

On a cold sunny morning last month, Creighton Lee Calhoun Jr. stood in his orchard, surrounded by 300 heirloom apple trees, and took some cuttings, or scions, to graft onto rootstock for new trees.

“You have to have new growth, something that grew last summer,” said Mr. Calhoun, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, pointing out the smooth reddish bark of a young shoot on an old West Virginia variety named Jugg.

He snipped it off with his sharp Felco pruners, cut the supple branch into 10-inch lengths (each with a few buds) and wrapped them with masking tape in a bundle marked “Jugg.”

“Old-timers would bury them under the leaves on the north side of the house,” said Mr. Calhoun, 77. “But I put mine in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.” When the danger of a hard freeze is past, these scions can be grafted onto young rootstock.

The practice is lost to most Americans, who think an apple is a Red Delicious, which tastes like white sugar, or a Granny Smith, often picked too green and stored so long it tastes like the bottom of the refrigerator drawer.

“They’re strange-tasting, gummy, probably from long-term controlled storage,” said Mr. Calhoun, who would no more eat a supermarket apple than an old shoe.

Mr. Calhoun is the author of a recently revised compendium of 1,800 antique apple varieties, called “Old Southern Apples.” He is also one of a cadre of collectors across the country who are passing on their own rare apples, through scions and grafted trees, to younger men and women starting nurseries or preservation orchards, or simply planting a few trees in the backyard.


After you’ve read the poem and article, tell us what you think in our comments section — or suggest other Times content that could be paired with the poem instead.

To learn more about the collaboration, and to find ideas for using any week’s pairing for teaching and learning, see this post.

Mr. St. John’s most recent book is “The Face: A Novella in Verse” (Harper Collins, 2004). This poem is reprinted from his 2010 book “The Place That Inhabits Us” by permission of Mr. St. John and the publisher, Sixteen Rivers Press.

Read the original article.


‘Old Southern Apples’: a Carolina keeper

Farm Fresh North Carolina Blog - Posted on by didaniel

Lee Calhoun – who you can hear speak on Feb. 10 — has done it again. The Chatham County resident and heirloom apple expert has updated his classic “Old Southern Apples,” which includes lists of heirloom apples available and those that have gone extinct. Among apples available is the North Carolina Keeper (hence my headline!). The Keeper was sold by two NC nurseries from 1886 to 1902, and was introduced in Davidson County.

The book first came out in 1995, but has been out of print for several years, much to the dismay of many folks. The revised and expanded edition, published by Chelsea Green, features descriptions of some 1,800 apple varieties that either originated in the South or were widely grown here before 1928. Though the handsome reference book is largely encyclopedic, each apple has a story, the Keeper included. And in the center of the 331-page book are historic botanical illustrations of each variety supplied by the National Agricultural Library’s collection of watercolor paintings. Gorgeous! (The Keeper is red and squat.)

A free public event – Apple Heirloom Seminar and Boot Signing – celebrates the book and its author on Thursday, Feb. 10. Lee will read excerpts from the book and answer questions from the audience. Sponsored by the Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, it will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 at the Agriculture Building Auditorium, 45 South St., in Pittsboro. Extension agent extraordinaire Debbie Roos requests that folks  please RSVP for the event by calling 919-542-8202.

Lee and his wife, Edith, have retired from the nursery business, but they passed along their knowledge – and apples – to two key spots in North Carolina – Century Farms Orchards in Caswell County outside of Reidville, and Horne Creek Living Historical Farm, south of Pilot Mountain State Park in Stokes County.

At Century Farms, owner David Vernon has grafted some 500 varities of heirloom apple trees under the tutelage of Lee. And at Horne, which is a North Carolina Historic Site, the Southern Heritage Apple Orchard was established in 1997 with a gift of by Lee of 400 varieties of heritage apples he grafted and grew. What a wonderful legacy!

Century Farms is open by appointment except Saturdays in November, while the Heritage Orchard is open to the public during Horne Creek’s visiting hours. Also at this lovely 104-acre site, which offers an outstanding look at the state’s rural and agricultural heritage from about 1900 to 1910, are a farmhouse, a well house, fruit house, smokehouse, tobacco barn, and corncrib, ringed by a walking trail.

Read the original article.

 


An ode to the apple

 

Yes! Weekly - November 17, 2010

by Keith Barber

The Winesap and Green Skin Horse apple represent two of the hundreds of antique apple species that are grown at the Southern Heritage Apple Orchard near Pinnacle. (photos by Salem Neff)

Lee Calhoun deflects any comparisons to Johnny Appleseed.

Calhoun claims he’s not nearly as eccentric as the American pioneer who introduced apple trees to vast areas of the Midwest, but he is one of only a handful of Southerners who have tried to keep certain varieties of Southern antique apples from becoming extinct.

“Over 1,000 [species of apples] have already died out completely, so we’re trying to catch the last of them before they all die out,” Calhoun, a Pittsboro resident, said. “We’ve found hundreds, but we’ve lost hundreds also.”

Growing apples and preserving the Southern culinary tradition of making apples a part of our everyday diet have been Calhoun’s hobbies since he and his wife moved to Chatham County 35 years ago. Over the past three and half decades, Calhoun has collected nearly 500 different varieties of apples. Like Johnny Appleseed, Calhoun has also shared the wealth with nurseries like the Southern Heritage Apple Orchard at Horne Creek Farm near Pinnacle. Calhoun grafted and donated more than 200 trees of antique and heirloom Southern apples to Horne Creek Farm.

“Two hundred years ago, people had uses for apples we don’t have anymore — apple cider, apple brandy, apple butter, dried apples,” Calhoun said. “Apples were very important to Southern farm families for hundreds of years. Southern farm families ate apples in some way every day of the year. Some apples were good for stewing, some apples good for apple butter — we’ve lost all of that knowledge over the years…. We need to recapture that.”

In years past, Southern families subsisted on a variety of antique apples like the Winesap, Black Twig, Magnum Bonum, Red June, Aunt Rachel and Horse Apple varieties, Calhoun said. In the latest edition of his book, Old Southern Apples, Calhoun gives the history of the Southern antique apple and describes 1,800 species of the delicious fruit.

The ancestral home of the apple is central Asia where the climate is fairly cold and dry, Calhoun explained, but Southerners have grown apples in warmer climes for more than 400 years. So it would be a tragedy if the rich history of the Southern antique apple were somehow lost.

“I’d like to see people expand their apple uses and try to recover some of the things that were done in the past like making their own apple sauce and freezing it or making their own apple butter and canning it. I’d like to see people start frying apples for breakfast, start stewing apples for supper — people did it for hundreds of years. I’d like to see people grow apples that their grandfathers and great-grandfathers grew and recapture some of our apple heritage.”

Margaret Norfleet-Neff strongly agrees with Calhoun. The co-founder of Beta Verde, a farm-to-table project, Norfleet-Neff and her daughter, Salem, grow apples on their property in Winston-Salem. Margaret and Salem often travel to Century Farm near Reidsville to seek out some of the best heirloom apples in the South.

“We try to go for those heirloom strains because the flavor is so unique to each apple,” Margaret said. “We can choose between smooth and light and tart flavor or a liquor flavor. We know if we go with certain apples, we’ll get a certain flavor out of it. If we know we have a slice of pork will come out a little saltier, we will make an apple chutney with a flavor and consistency that complements the meat.”

Most of the apples available in grocery stores are sweet apples, which are not ideal for cooking, Calhoun said.

“If you cook with a sweet apple, it’s just bland,” he said. “You need an apple with more acidity and firmness.”

Calhoun highly recommends the Horse, Virginia Greening, Smokehouse and Sparger apple varieties for cooking. Apples represent a significant chunk of the more than 150 varieties of fruits and vegetables homegrown at Beta Verde.

“Apple season means plentiful varieties and tastes, which leads to apples finding their place in any part of the meal,” Salem said. “We love to pair apples with a savory crust or pork dish or the tallest apple pie you’ve ever seen. If there’s any left at the end of the night, breakfast is going to include them, too.”

The idea of Beta Verde is to expose people to sustainable farming in the city, Margaret said.

“That’s the essence of what we’re doing — to have a place for people to come and enjoy food that is delicious and tantalizing to them and feels like home,” Margaret said.

Margaret and Salem Neff do a lot of canning and pickling as well, and anything that is harvested and not used becomes compost and goes back into the garden.

“We have 16 acres of land supporting itself in sustainable but regenerative way,” she said. “We turn over the land every three years. We use the wood and everything.”

Margaret said she and Salem have learned so much from people like Calhoun, who are passionate about preserving the tradition of Southern food.

“With every food, there’s a million different family stories — that’s what recipes are,” Margaret said. “It’s community and preserving taste — a real taste, not a manufactured taste and that’s really memory.”

Calhoun, Margaret and Salem Neff are doing their part to preserve the legacy of Southern cuisine, which is synonymous with the slow food movement. And apples will undoubtedly remain an integral part of our Southern culinary heritage.

Read the original article at Yes! Weekly.


$75.00
On Sale: $56.25!
Format: Hardcover
Status: Currently On Backorder
Temporarily out of stock.


Online for US Orders Only
International orders can be placed by phone (802-295-6300) or email

GET YOUR NEWS FROM CHELSEA GREEN

Sign up for our e-newsletter today and get 25% off your next purchase in our bookstore. Please note that discount codes do not combine with other offers or books already on sale.