A captivating cultural and scientific history of orchards, perfect for readers of Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire and Mark Kurlansky's Salt.
Throughout history, orchards have served many sacred purposes: they are sites of worship and rest, inspiration for artists and writers, and vibrant community hubs. Moreover, they are places of sustenance. In Taming Fruit, award-winning writer Bernd Brunner interweaves beautiful illustrations and prose to show that the story of orchards is a human story. It is also a story of how humans have shaped and bent nature according to our desires for millennia.
As Brunner tells, the first orchards may have been oases dotted with date trees, where desert nomads stopped to rest. In the Amazon, Indigenous tribes maintained mosaic gardens centuries before colonization. Modern fruit cultivation developed over thousands of years in the East and the West. As populations expanded, fruit trees sprang from the lush gardens of the wealthy and monasteries to fields and roadsides, changing landscapes as they fed the hungry.
But orchards are not only for growing fruit; they have also inspired great artists. Taming Fruit shares paintings, photographs, and illustrations alongside Brunner's enchanting descriptions and research, offering a multifaceted – and long-awaited – portrait of the orchard.
Bernd Brunner is the author of several books including Birdmania and Winterlust, and his writings have appeared in publications around the world including Lapham’s Quarterly, the Paris Review, Quartz, the Times Literary Supplement, and the Wall Street Journal. He divides his time between Istanbul and Berlin.
"Fruit was there at the beginning of the human story, Bernd Brunner argues in this crisply written and lushly illustrated book."
– Zach St. George, author of The Journeys of Trees
"A beautiful exploration of the life-giving bonds between trees, fruits, and people."
– David George Haskell, author of The Forest Unseen
"An enchanting journey through the world of orchards and botanical curiosities. Anyone who is even a tentative gardener will cherish this lovely book."
– Brian Fagan, author of The Little Ice Age and The Intimate Bond