The Heirloom Orchardist is designed to provide information about heirloom fruit and flower varieties, and their methods of culture, as presented by those who cultivated these old heirlooms years ago. We glean first-hand accounts on our ancestor's favorites from old books and papers, and present the information here. Our links to associated plant suppliers allow you a convenient and affordable means to purchase the plants we explore.
The Heirloom Orchardist grew from my love of gardening, old books, and pre-20th century rural American life. Over 20 years ago, I purchased a bound collection of the 1835 issues of Yankee Farmer, and became fascinated with the first-hand knowledge of farm and garden techniques shared amid the pages. Of course, my small library of old books and periodicals grew. These old volumes are a valuable source of information on the nature of agriculture and society in early America. They relay the trials and tribulations of the average 18th and 19th century farmer, in his own words. Here, I hope to share that knowledge in a fun, engaging format.
Most of the old books mentioned by The Heirloom Orchardist are still available, but frequently out-of-print. If you are intrigued by the old books we reference and quote in these pages, and are interested in seeking a copy for your library, feel free to use the "Booksearch and Marketplace" tool located in the left sidebar.
Is the Heirloom Orchardist about organic fruit culture and gardening? Sure! Our North American ancestors produced organic fruit and vegetables for their families and the market, long before petroleum-based pesticides and fertilizers became available. They grew these products organically because that was the only way to grow things, not to reach a specific upscale health conscious market niche. Back then farming was hard, risky, and not particularly successful by today’s standards. But the good farmer strived always to be (what we call today) a “steward of the land.”
Please feel free to contact us and ask questions or comment on this material, at your convenience. Back to The Heirloom Orchardist.