Category Archives: Readings & Resources

From The “New, Useful and Entertaining” Thomas’ The Farmer’s Almanac. Edition No. 1. Calendars for December, 1793:

1793 of Almanck cover

The first edition, published by Robert B. Thomas in 1792, (for the year 1793) was “declared new, useful and entertaining” and sold for six pence.

Calendar for December 1793:

“Put your sleds and sleighs in order. Complete your thrashing. Visit your barns often. See that your cellars are well stored with good cider, that wholesome and cheering liquor, which is the product of your own farms: No man is to be pitied, that cannot enjoy himself or his friend, over a pot of good cider, the product of his own country, and perhaps his own farm which suits both his constitution and his pocket much better than West-India spirit.”

sources & resources:


link to free google ebook compilation:  The Old Farmer and His Almanack: Being Some Observations on Life and Manners in Vew England a Hundred Years Ago, Suggested by Reading the Earlier Numbers of Mr. Robert. B. Thomas’s Farmer’s Almanack, Together with Extracts Curious, Instructive, and Entertaining, as Well as a Variety of Miscellaneous Matter

Harvard University Press, 1920
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Why do we need so many kinds of apples?

Apples in a crate at Albemarle Cider Works Vintage Virginia Apples

“Why do we need so many kinds of apples?

Because there are so many folks. A person has a right to gratify his legitimate tastes. If he wants twenty or forty kinds of apples for his personal use, running from Early Harvest to Roxbury Russet, he should be accorded the privilege. Some place should be provided where he may obtain trees or scions. There is merit in variety itself. It provides more points of contact with life, and leads away from uniformity and monotony.”
–Liberty Hyde Bailey, The Apple Tree, p. 68
(New York: Macmillan, 1922)

Celebrating America’s Unique Apple Diversity: Selected Literature

Special Reference Briefs Series

No. SRB 2010-02

Compiled by:
Rebecca Mazur and Katie Winkleblack
National Agricultural Library
Agricultural Research Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
10301 Baltimore Avenue
Beltsville, MD 20705

September 2010
Updated September 2011

“This bibliography is a selected compilation from the rich pool of information resources at the National Agricultural Library about heirloom apples. It consists of a list of books and reports at the Library dating prior to 1928, with the addition of later books which focus on the subject of varieties of apples grown in the American past. It is organized into sections first by date and then in order of the author’s last name.”


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Sneak Peek: September 2014: Apples of Uncommon Character by Rowan Jacobsen


Rowan Jacobsen

Apples of Uncommon Character

123 Heirlooms, Modern Classics, & Little-Known Wonders

(Plus 20 Sweet and Savory Recipes)

Bloomsbury, September 2014

Rowan Jacobsen: and @rowanjacobsen


Photographer Clare Barboza ( shares a “visual sneak peek” from Uncommon Apples in her blog post a whole lotta apples.

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What We’re Reading: Pomona’s Harvest by H. Frederic Janson

Pomonas Harvest

Pomona’s Harvest: An Illustrated Chronicle of Antiquarian Fruit Literature by H. Frederic Janson, Timber Press, 1996.

From Timber Press:

“An intriguing history of books about fruit from antiquity to the Industrial Revolution, including many beautiful engravings from key works. The relationship of pomology to social history and the history of ideas is explored, and there is a bibliography describing more than 600 fruit-related sources.”

This is an extremely valuable resource for anyone interested in early pomological texts, and pomological illustration.

Currently available as a print-on-demand paperback from these online retailers: Amazon.comBarnes & NoblePowell’s.

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Wassail Day 1. We Salute Ye Olde Quince Trees.

Wassail Day 1. We Salute Ye Olde Quince Trees.

January 5th, 2014

The Plan: A visit to The Cloisters Museum to Wassail the 4 quince trees that live in the Bonnefont Cloister.

Capital detail Cruxa Cloister

The Wassail Implements: An empty soda can re-filled with dried beans – a bit of tape over the top to secure said beans, and a small travel-size plastic cosmetics bottle filled with 2 oz. of Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandy. Old World, New World Wassail To Go DIY Pocket Kit.*

The Cloisters Museum botanical collection includes pollarded crab apple trees, espaliered pears, exotic potted citrus fruits, and the famed quinces. Snowy conditions made it impossible to access the courtyards where the crab apples and quince reside, we could only view them through the frost-steamed windows of the Cruxa & Bonnefont Cloisters. We wished them a quiet Good Health and Good Fortune and vowed to return when the gardens were accessible in Spring.

A gallery talk, led by a knowledgeable and genial guide, focused on details of medieval life in the winter months, examining the seasonal feasting rituals and agricultural tasks that occupied the waking hours of medieval folk, including the varied wassailing traditions observed in the manor hall, monastery and village.

Pollarded crab apple trees Cruxa Cloister

Pollarded crab apple trees in Cruxa Cloister

Read about the fascinating “medieval technique of hard pruning, known as pollarding” in this article, Woodsman, Pollard That Tree.

*repurposed New Years noisemakers are a perfect addition to the DIY-Wassail To Go Kit.

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The Pagan Rite WASSAIL! Brown, Bradshaw and World’s Best Ciders.

In their extremely useful guide World’s Best Ciders: Taste, Tradition and Terroir, Pete Brown and Bill Bradshaw devote a few pages to explore Wassail traditions and celebrations. (The UK cover -pictured- even features the image of a torch-lit wassail).

WBC UK cover

According to Brown & Bradshaw:

“Like all the best traditions, the ritual of wassail is rooted in the past but allows every community to imposes it’s own stamp. It’s growing in popularity because it is an unmediated, unbranded entertainment that links us back to the land and the passing of the seasons.”

Celebrate Wassail: Grab a copy of World’s Best Ciders, pour a glass of cider or mug of wassail, and explore Wassail traditions past and present.

For more of Bill Bradshaw’s Wassail imagery visit IAMCIDER:

Sterling Publishing

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These Days of Wassailing


Hello Friends of Cider!  Join us in embracing Wassail in 2014.

We’re observing North American celebrations from January 5th to January 17th, 2014*, from ‘New’ 12th Night Eve to ‘Old’ 12th Night.

Our Goals for The 2014 Wassail: Explore Old & New World Wassail Traditions, Salute The Orchard, Honor The Apple, and Celebrate With Cider.

How are WE Wassailing? To being the festivities, January 5th, 2014, we visited “the four beloved quinces at the Cloisters Museum and Gardens, along the Hudson River in Fort Tryon Park.” The Wassail did not go as planned, but Pomona surprised us with an amazing Wassail Wonder.

Read more about the New York Quinces in this piece In Praise of the Misunderstood Quince by By Michael Tortorello, published May 2, 2012 in the New York Times.

*Note: Our Wassailing activities are likely to continue throughout the month of January 2014, yours can too!

Image: Specimen 8168   Artist: Prestele, William Henry, 1838-1895

Scientific name: Cydonia oblonga  Common name: quinces  Variety: Bourgeat

Source: “U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705”

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Celebrate Repeal Day®: Drink a Cider.

Repeal Day® Is December 5.

The motto:

The Freedom To Celebrate. Celebrate The Freedom.

Read more about Repeal Day®  and suggested activities at

We Suggest A Fine Way To Celebrate Repeal Day®: Drink a Cider.

Read the fascinating Analysis of the U. S. Liquor Industry during Prohibition originally published in Fortune Magazine: U.S. Liquor Industry (Fortune 1931)

Suggested Accompaniment: A Glass of Cider.


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Cider is one of the good gifts which are to be received with thanksgiving.

WPA October

We therefore believe that cider is one of the good gifts which are to be received with thanksgiving; and we desire to see its manufacture so perfected, that it will rank with wine in public estimation: and if our experience can add to the stock of information on this subject, we cheerfully give it, though we may encounter the reprobation of some ultra abstinence, not to say, temperance men.

From: Tilton’s Journal of Horticulture, Volume 5, J. E. Tilton & Company, 1869.

To read more about Cider and Cider-Manufacture, see Tilton’s Journal of Horticulture, Volume 5.

WPA November

Image credit:  October. Leslie Bryan Burroughs. [1938]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, WPA Poster Collection, Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-7683.

November. Ben Kaplan. [1938]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, WPA Poster Collection, Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-7684.


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Celebrate the New York Cider Revival and Win Your Own Cider Library!

LOC apple image

It’s The 3rd Annual Cider Revival at the New Amsterdam Market in New York City Sunday, November 24.

Visit The New York State Cider & Thanksgiving Market for a chance to win Your Own Cider Library AND Support The New Amsterdam Market.

Enter to win an amazing Cider Research & Reference Library – several publishers have generously donated some terrific books – perfect for the cider & apple lover or the cider curious. For yourself or for gift giving.

WAIT There’s MORE!

The Cider Research & Reference Library includes a few bottles of real New York cider!

Stop by the main Market table on Sunday Nov. 24th, and enter to win The Cider Library with Libations! Tickets $5 each or $10 for 3. Such value! and for a good cause.

All proceeds to benefit The New Amsterdam Market.

Take a look at the books included in the Cider (and Apple) Research & Reference Library:

Cider Hard & Sweet: History, Traditions, and Making Your Own 3rd Edition by Ben Watson, The Countryman Press, 2013.

Cider Hard & Sweet

Taste, Memory: Forgotten Foods, Lost Flavors, and Why They Matter by David Buchanan, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012.


The New Cider Makers Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for Craft Producers by Claude Jolicoeur, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2013.


The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart, Algonquin Books, 2013.


Worlds Best Ciders by Pete Brown & Bill Bradshaw, Sterling Epicure, 2013.


Apples of North America: 192 Exceptional Varieties for Gardeners, Growers, and Cooks by Tom Burford, Timber Press, 2013.

True Brews: How to Craft Fermented Cider, Beer, Wine, Sake, Soda, Mead, Kefir, and Kombucha at Home by Emma Christensen, 10 Speed Press, 2013.

True Brews Cover

Johnny Appleseed And The American Orchard: A Cultural History by William Kerrigan, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012.


Apple Lovers Cookbook by Amy Traverso, W. W. Norton & Company, 2011.


Cider Handbook from Scott Labs, 2013.

Scott 2013-14

Stop by the New Amsterdam Market this Sunday, November 24th, to celebrate the New York Cider Revival, enter to win this swell cider library, and get your holiday marketing done.



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What We’re Reading: The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart


What We’re Reading: The Drunken Botanist. The Plants That Create The World’s Great Drinks.

Algonquin Books, 2013.

Author: Amy Stewart

Exploring botany in a bottle, plant by fascinating plant, with cocktail recipes. Organized by process and botanical families, and styled with a nod to antique tomes, chapter headings include:

Part One: We Explore The Twin Alchemical Processes of Fermentation and Distillation from Which Wine, Beer and Spirits Issue Forth.

The entry for Apple, Malus domestica, Rosaceae (Rose Family) – includes a discussion of cider, notes regarding heritage apples, outlines apple spirit styles, and provides cocktail recipes with history notes. Pear, Pyrus communis, perry and pear spirits are examined as well.

Full of fun facts to know and tell, with Grow Your Own and Field Guide sections, and a diverse array of recipes.

This is the kind of reading you can easily enjoy with a glass of cider; educational, informative, and amusing – a very handy imbibers reference guide indeed.


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Resources: Your Daily Cider @HelloCider!

LOC apple image

Your Daily Cider: Tweeting Cider News from around the world, with a focus on Cider in the USA (and North America).

With @HelloCider we attempt to cover all things Cider: Cidermakers Profiles, Emerging Makers, Cider Debuts, Orcharding, Pollinators, Cider (Pome) Fruit Stories, Cider Business & Legislation, Cider Events, Cider History & Lore, Cider-Serving Establishments, Cider Reviews & Tasting Notes, Cider Recipes & Pairing, Cider Mixology, Cider Organizations, Heroes of Cider and Cider Readings & Resources. Everything Useful, Pertinent or Of Interest Re: Cider.

Find us @HelloCider

Tweeting Daily Cider Since December 2013.

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Observations on Cider. No. 265. 1867.


No. 265.

Observations on Cider.

From the great diversity of soil and climate in the United States of America, and the almost endless variety of its apples, it follows that much diversity of taste and flavour will necessarily be found in the cider that is made from them. To make good cider, the following general, but important, rules should be attended to. They demand a little more trouble than the ordinary mode of collecting and mashing apples of all sorts, rotten and sound, sweet and sour, dirty and clean, from the tree and the soil, and the rest of the slovenly process usually employed ; but in return they produce you a wholesome, high-flavoured, sound, and palatable liquor, that always commands an adequate price, instead of a solution of “villanous compounds,” in a poisonous and acid wash, that no man in his senses will drink. The finest cider was made of an equal portion of ripe, sound pippin and crab apples, pared, cored, and pressed, etc., with the utmost nicety. It was equal in flavour to any champagne that ever was made.

Title: Six hundred receipts, worth their weight in gold : including receipts for cooking, making preserves, perfumery, cordials, ice creams, inks, paints, dyes of all kinds, cider, vinegar, wines, spirits, whiskey, brandy, gin, etc., and how to make imitations of all kinds of liquors : together with valuable gauging tables : the collections, testing, and improvements on the receipts extending over a period of thirty years.

Author: Marquart, John  1867

Publisher: Philadelphia : J.E. Potter


Read online:

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What We’re Reading: Scott Laboratories 2013 -2014 Cider Handbook.

Scott 2013-14

What We’re Reading: The 2013 -2014 Cider Handbook from Scott Laboratories.

September 7, 2013 Scott Laboratories announced its first ever Cider Handbook.

Known for an annual fermentation handbook, with information and resources geared to the needs of wineries, breweries, and distilleries in North America, the people at Scott Labs felt it was time to create a handbook focused on cider:

“The 60-page Handbook contains products, articles, and protocols specific to the cider industry. With cider sales in the U.S. tripling since 2007, Scott recognized that this growing market needed attention.”

The 2013-2014 Cider Handbook, is available in the U.S. and Canada. To request a free copy email Or visit

The end papers of the handbook features images courtesy of Albemarle CiderWorks, depicting 32 apple varieties including Golden Pearmain, Razor Russet, Black Twig, Crow Egg, and Redfield.

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Apple Belts of North America circa 1914.

LOC apple image

The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture:

Apple belts.

In comparing the great apple growing regions of the continent it is convenient to designate each by its leading variety. In the eastern part of the continent, there is the Fameuse or Wealthy belt on the north, the Ben Davis belt on the south, and the Baldwin belt lying intermediate between these two. It is seen that varieties differ greatly as to their adaptability to different regions. The degree of soil aeration and of soil moisture and the range of atmospheric and soil temperatures are among the most important determining factors of the geographical range of commercial apple growing with any variety. Passing westward into the mid continental region it is found that the Baldwin belt does not extend west of Lake Michigan. The climatic extremes are here too severe for that variety and many of its eastern associates of a similar degree of hardiness.

In all that vast territory which extends westward from the Great Lakes these varieties disappear and do not again appear till the states of the Pacific Coast are reached. Instead the Wealthy belt extends southward till it reaches the region where Wealthy yields leadership to Ben Davis. In this connection it is worthy of note that from the Atlantic Coast westward to the Missouri River, the north margin of the Ben Davis belt approximately coincides with the southern boundary of the geological area covered by the Wisconsin drift.

Wealthy belt.

The mid-continental territory in which Wealthy is generally speaking the leading variety includes northern Illinois, the north half of Iowa, and practically all of the apple growing districts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, and northern Nebraska. Among the more important varieties associated with it are for the more northern parts Oldenburg, Okabenal, Patten (Patten Greening) and Malinda. Among the very hardiest of the large size apples for the North are those of the Hibernal group, but their fruit is so austere that it is esteemed of little value except for culinary uses. In the southern part of the Wealthy belt are grown hardy varieties of more or less local value such as Salome, Windsor, Black Annette and Colorado Orange varieties which as yet have not established themselves in the great world markets but which are valued where better varieties cannot be satisfactorily grown.

Ben Davis belt.

Generally speaking, Ben Davis is the leading variety in central and southern Illinois, the south half of Iowa, and the apple growing districts of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and the south half of Nebraska. With its close kin the Gano, and the Black Ben Davis which evidently are highly colored bud sports of Ben Davis. it probably produces at least one half of the commercial apple crop in this region. Winesap and Jonathan appear to be next in order of importance with Winesap perhaps in the lead. Other important varieties are Grimes, Rome Beauty, Willow (Twig), Missouri (Pippin), Minkler and Ralls. York Imperial is gaining ground Stayman Winesap is one of the newer kinds which will be more largely planted. Delicious also is attracting attention particularly because of its agreeable dessert quality and good appearance. The Stayman and Delicious are being planted to some extent in the southern part of the Wealthy belt as Jonathan and Grimes have been.

Page 325.


The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture:

A Discussion for the Amateur, and the Professional and Commercial Grower, of the Kinds, Characteristics and Methods of Cultivation of the Species of Plants Grown in the Regions of the United States and Canada for Ornament, for Fancy, for Fruit and for Vegetables; with Keys to the Natural Families and Genera, Descriptions of the Horticultural Capabilities of the States and Provinces and Dependent Islands, and Sketches of Eminent Horticulturists, Volume 1

Edited by Liberty Hyde Bailey, Macmillan, 1914

Read or download a copy via google here.

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First Look: World’s Best Ciders: Taste, Tradition and Terroir. What We’re Reading.


Authors: Pete Brown and Bill Bradshaw

Publisher: Sterling Epicure

Published: October 2013
256 pages
ISBN: 1-4549-0788-6
ISBN13: 9781454907886

Lucky to get an advance copy of World’s Best Ciders: Taste, Tradition and Terroir  (US/Can version) –  we are hunkering down with a craft cider for a good read and will report back with more detailed comments soon.

First impressions:

Hard bound and extensively illustrated with color photographs.

World’s Best Cider explores contemporary cider in the context of cider history, regional terroir, and local cider traditions. Authors Pete Brown and Bill Bradshaw examine world ciders by country, provide cider recommendations and tasting notes, and include profiles of several influential cider artisans responsible for crafting some of the world’s best ciders.

Pre-order a copy now via Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Available for purchase October 2103 at your local bookseller, including these sellers who carry books by Sterling Publishing:

In the USA

Northshire Bookstore
University of Washington’s Bookstore

In Canada

Chapters Indigo
Vancouver Kidsbooks

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What We’re Reading : Apples of North America by Tom Burford

Apples of North America: 192 Exceptional Varieties for Gardeners, Growers and Cooks by Tom Burford.

An essential resource for anyone interested in learning more about America’s national fruit.

Preview the book here via Timber Press.

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Gleanings: Tian Shan: The Fatherland of Apples + Sweet Pilgrimage


Two informative articles about the wild apples of Tian Shan: The story of ancestral apples –Malus sieversii – and the great diversity occurring in the regions of Almaty, Kazakhstan, considered to be the birthplace of the apple.

Sweet Pilgrimage: Two British Apple Growers in the Tian Shan

by John Selborne

“Central Asia’s wild fruit forests are not only home to the ancestor of all domestic apples, but also hold the key to the future of apple breeding worldwide”

Published in Steppe, Issue 9, 2011. Available online.

The Fatherland of Apples

The origins of a favorite fruit and the race to save its native habitat.

By Gary Paul Nabhan

Published in the May/June 2008 issue of Orion magazine and available online.

“THE FRAGRANCE of the forest is unlike any I have ever known. The smell of ripening and rotting apples and pears fills my nostrils. At my feet, russet reds, blushing pinks, vibrant roses, and creamy yellows mottle the ground, where wildlife has half-consumed the wild fruit that makes this Kazakh forest so bountiful.”

Gary Paul Nabhan’s essay in Orion magazine is adapted from his book, Where Our Food Comes From, by Island Press, 2008

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What We’re Reading: Apples by Roger Yepsen


An extremely informative and charming small format book of deft watercolor illustrations and profiles of 90 apple varieties, Roger Yepsen’s Apples includes a concise overview of apple and cider history, recipes, Apple Argot, and simple how to make your own cider instructions.

See Inside the Book for a preview. 

Details: Hardcover, September 1994, ISBN 978-0-393-03690-9, 5.4 × 6.4 in / 255 pages

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