Review of ‘The Apple Orchard’ by Pete Brown

This book has everything you’d ever want to know about apples. It has no pictures, however. Generally I liked it and for some reason had a craving for apples. Sadly, the author discovered, while researching this book, that he had developed an allergy to apples and couldn’t eat them any more!

Divided into sections on blossoming, fruiting, ripening and harvesting, the book charts a year in the orchard. Beginning with the origins of apples and the evidence for them in ancient and religious texts, the author moves on to topics such as cider making, apples in popular culture, the science of cultivation and a little too much about morris dancing. Pete Brown goes to festivals, orchards and fruit research stations in his quest to bring forth the story of ‘our most English fruit’ (which, it turns out, originates in Kazakhstan). It was quite funny in places, with detailed descriptions that made up for the absence of images. However, it wasn’t all riveting. Dense paragraphs on exactly how to graft on to rootstocks, for example. Occasionally the book thinks it’s a how-to manual rather than a piece of food journalism / cultural history / nature writing.

I learned a lot about apples. Job well done, Pete Brown.

First published in 2016 by Particular Books, then in 2017 by Penguin.

8 thoughts on “Review of ‘The Apple Orchard’ by Pete Brown”

  1. This sounds like it’s fascinating in part and I love when a book like this is funny too, but eek, I wouldn’t be all that interested in the manual-type aspect you’re describing. That’s a shame that it doesn’t stick to a food journalism, culture and nature structure. Glad to know it exists though, would definitely get it from the library. Thanks for the great review!

    1. Thanks for your comment 🙂
      It started off quite funny and interesting but for me it was less so as the book went on. It’s the sort of book that crosses categories and I can’t remember whether I first saw it in the ‘travel’ or ‘nature’ sections of the bookshop – it certainly wasn’t in the ‘food and drink’ or ‘gardening’ sections.

  2. Wow!! This sounds weirdly exciting and even though I don’t usually read these kind of books, I am excited to check this one out! GREAT REVIEW! 😍😍❤️

    1. Thank you 🙂 Love your enthusiasm!
      I just thought reading about apples might be interesting and a bit random. Mostly I liked it, but I wouldn’t re-read it. 🙂 ♥

    1. Thank you! 🙂
      Sometimes I really want to get apples but then I’ll go for months without eating them. It depends what varieties are around because I won’t eat any that are too sweet… or too sour!

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