Fred Lape's Apples and Man

By Lee Latimer

In 1979, Fred Lape published a book entitled Apples and Man. The flyleaf states: "The coming generation may scarcely know how a good apple tastes. Anyone who savors the taste of a good apple and is curious about the past history, the current status, and the probable future of the apple will delight in this comprehensive narrative."

And a bit later in the paragraph: "The discrepancy between the concerns of commercial growers and the individual lover of a good tasting apple is explored, with an in-depth discussion of the dangers of mass production, scientific breeding and reliance on chemicals for cultivation and preservation."

While insightful and monumental in its own right, in 2017, Lape’s Apples and Man also inspired a Wisconsin man, Dan Bussey, to produce The Illustrated History of Apples in the United States and Canada. It is an illustrated hardcover set of seven volumes, each between 500 and 600 pages. Illustrated History is a compendium of every apple variety that has appeared in print in any North American publication in the last two centuries.

An online article by titled “Meet the Man on a Quest to Document Every Apple in North America” states:

"Bussey, 64, began his pomme-ological quest in 1989, while setting up an orchard in his hometown of Edgerton, Wisconsin. He’d grown interested in heirlooms in 1980, soon after reading the newly released book Apples and Man by Fred Lape, which bemoaned the loss of heirlooms and the poor quality of chemically treated supermarket apples."

We have always known of Fred Lape’s world- wide reputation as an insightful and knowledgeable expert on plants. This is anotherexample of the far-reaching effects of his leadership.

Fall 2021

Volume 39 , Number 3

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