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What is it about the small fruits of field and wood that encourages rapture? These gifts of the earth – flagrant in hedgerows, carpeting the forest floor or colouring the uplands – are so ubiquitous as to be commonplace and so extraordinary that we have woven them into our folklore, fables and art. Strawberries, brambles, blueberries and raspberries were painted in the frescoes of Pompeii, twined into the borders of medieval miniatures and embroidered on silks and linens. Today the huge demand for these nutrient-rich fruits is pushing berry cultivation into new territories, from South America to Scandinavia, and changing the nature of our relationship with these much-loved fruits.
In this delightful, surprising and occasionally juicy exploration, Victoria Dickenson traces the humble berry's journey across cultures and through centuries with humour and passion.
1 Berries True and False
2 Berries in Mind
3 Berries in the Hand
4 Garden Varieties
5 Preserving the Harvest
6 The Global Berry
Associations and Websites
Victoria Dickenson is Adjunct Professor, Rare Books and Special Collections at McGill University Library in Montreal and the author of Rabbit (2013) and Seal (2016), both published by Reaktion. A devoted amateur botanist, she spends summers in the berry-covered island of Newfoundland, where she has learned to savour the tiny, delicious fruits of field, forest and bog.
"A book that will change the way you think about berries, familiar and unfamiliar. Beautifully written, packed with information and arresting ideas, all six chapters will appeal to a range of readers, who can savour the mouthwatering illustrations as much as the harvest and preserves of the kitchen."
– Mark Laird, author of A Natural History of English Gardening