Over the course of more than 50 years, the USDA employed artists to create a stunning visual record of fruit and nut varieties in the country, both native and imported. More than 300 images from that collection are reproduced here, most of them on full pages.
Inside the book you will encounter an amazing array of images, many supplemented by notes about the provenance of the specimen depicted. Most fruits are shown whole as well as in cross section. A Fairai Satusuma orange from Baldwin County, Alabama is notable for its deep green peel; Burlington County, New Jersey was producing a cranberry called Early Black. There are seven types of avocado, and six of persimmon. There is a nutmeg grown in Puerto Rico, a peanut from Ohio, and even a lemon brought all the way back from Greece.
Among the essays describing the purpose of the collection and brief biographies of some of the artists, there are pieces by Michael Pollan on apples, and John McPhee on, what else, oranges. Fascinating history.
Hardcover. Color illustrations throughout.