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Proceedings from the First Annual Wild & Seedling Pomological Exhibition

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by Matt Kaminsky
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In the first of what promises to be an enduring gathering, in the fall of 2019, 126 wild apples and pears—those which came from trees grown from seed, rather than propagated via grafting as all orchard varieties much be—were presented at the First Annual Wild & Seedling Pomological Exhibition, held in Ashfield, MA. Those who gathered there or sent in their discoveries, sought to revive apple exhibitions at which fruit explorers in the 19th and early 20th century showed off varieties they had found growing in fields, alleyways, compost heaps, or crevasses in stone walls.

Presented here are 69 of the fruits submitted, handsomely photographed and described in close detail. The entries address where the fruit was found and by whom, its size, shape, and color, skin texture and thickness, stem length, interior cavity, and other botanical characteristics. Notes on flavor, texture, and keeping qualities are also provided, along with suggested use, such as for cider, eating, or cooking.

Alongside the businesslike descriptions, there is an undertone of gritty enchantment, from the dramatic names (Burning Church, Bus Stop Ruby, Screaching Weasel) to the sites of their discovery ("growing next to a pond," "in the parking lot of a contracting company," "near at hospital at 6,300-foot elevation."). Many states and provinces are represented, but the Northeastern US predominates for this first collection, with the likes of Nevada, Oregon, and Virginia contributing as well.


Paperback. Color photographs throughout. 80 pages.

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