Our Favorite Books

By Jack Ruttle

Apples For the 21st Century
There hasn't been a book about apples for gardeners -- that is, about how to choose and grow the best varieties -- for more than 50 years. Apples for the 21st Century provides welcome relief from that publishing drought. Author Warren Manheart focuses on the top 50 or so cultivars (out of the 140) he has grown. These are apples that both have excellent eating qualities and are relatively easy to grow. In 1964 Manheart bought a house on a half-acre outside Portland, Oregon, and planted some heirloom apple varieties from the Southmeadow Fruit Gardens catalog along with several popular commercial cultivars. Ten years later he had more than 100 varieties on dwarf rootstocks and had begun attending professional fruit-growing meetings. He was also importing and testing new cultivars from all over the world. Today he has cut back to his 35 favorites and has distilled his 30-year passion into this book. What he says about climate is not always on target for all regions -- he knows the Pacific Northwest and his native Minnesota best. But when it comes to describing the fruit and the ways the trees perform relative to other varieties, the book is an invaluable guide to choosing apples with great flavor. There are color photos of 52 varieties. Available from North American Tree Co., 5050 S.E. Stark St., Portland, OR 97215; $38.95 postpaid.

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