Abstract

Before the Revolution, colonial American consumers reconstituted the English apple orchard. Unremarkable random seedling apples and "high" flavored English cider fruits were devalued. Late colonial consumers selected a range of sweeter, more versatile apples for fresh use and culinary preparations, others for drying, and many "winter keepers" for long-term storage. These trees were supplied by distinctive, horticulturally trained farmers who produced grafted trees as part of their mixed crop output. Demand for this first catalog of American apple trees exploded in the Ohio Valley, where surging farm establishment fueled commercial agricultural enterprises. By 1800 pioneer artisan horticulturists were selling America’s favorite cultivated apple tree varieties to frontier farmers while mythologized peddlers of unimproved, random seedlings contributed only marginally. By 1820 craft nurserymen marketed tens of thousands of grafted apple trees annually and were among the most commercially oriented farmers in the Old Northwest.

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Notes

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