Duck Duck Book

13 – uncommon fruits
02.17.2005, 12:02 am
Filed under: technology

Uncommon fruits for every garden / by Lee Reich ; illustrations by Vicki Herzfeld Arlein.
Portland, Or. : Timber Press, 2004.
[MCL call number: 634 R347uf 2004; six copies, no holds]

Uncommon Fruits is like a collection of fruit biographies, with information for gardeners, fruit-eaters, and everyone who is curious about foods they’ve never tasted. Some of the fruits profiled in the book are familiar to us, though we may not have ever eaten them — mulberry, gooseberry, persimmon, Asian pear — and others are truly rare and unheard of in the United States — che, medlar, raisin tree fruit, jujube. The thing they all share is a willingness to thrive in New York state, where Reich lives, and where he grows all the fruits in the book.

Each fruit included the text is described in general terms, with a short history of its cultivation, and some discussion of how it has been used as a food, when, and by whom. Reich provides some cultural information, with advice on the climates in which each fruit will happily grow, fertilization and plant care, pruning, and varieties or cultivars that are tasty or hardy or disease resistant. Reich’s prose is pleasing, and the fruit stories are very interesting. He includes several appendixes, on horticultural language, pollination, siting and planting, pruning, propagation, and mail order sources for plants and seeds. There is a index as well.

Uncommon Fruits is a revised, expanded version of Reich’s earlier book on the subject, which is now out of print:

Uncommon fruits worthy of attention : a gardener’s guide / by Lee Reich ; illustrations by Vicki Herzfeld Arlein.
Reading, Mass. : Addison-Wesley, c1991.
[MCL call number: 634 R347u; one copy, no holds]

The earlier book is just as useful and interesting, though it doesn’t include as many different fruits, and I would encourage you to read it if it is the only version available to you.


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