Taming Fruit

How Orchards Have Transformed the Land, Offered Sanctuary, and Inspired Creativity


A captivating cultural and scientific history of orchards, perfect for readers of Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire. Throughout history, orchards have served many sacred purposes: they are sites of worship and rest, inspiration for artists and writers, and vibrant community hubs. In Taming Fruit, award-winning writer Bernd Brunner interweaves beautiful illustrations and prose to show that the story of orchards is a human story.


Named a Best Gardening Book of the Year by The Spectator

“Visualize exploring an Edenic garden, picking cherries from one tree, apples from another, oranges from a third. Nature writer Brunner has created an art-filled book that evokes such luxuriance, satisfying to both the mind and the senses...readers of this handsome volume are sure to find themselves better and more thoughtful.”
Natural History Magazine

“[A] fact-packed treatise … Brunner moves chronologically from wild origins and godly gardens to present-day industrial farms, where economic and consumer demands have reduced fruit varieties and flavors while expanding size and shelf life. Along the way, he disperses plenty of cultivation and cultural knowledge.”
Publishers Weekly

“An exploration that’s both captivating and scientific.”
Modern Farmer

“From the earliest days of man, trees bearing fruit have provided sustenance, wonder, and artistic inspiration. With beautiful illustrations and well-written prose, Brunner takes us on the journey of how some of our most beloved fruits and the trees that bear them came to be and the vital roles they play in our lives.”
The Real Dirt

“An enchanting journey through the world of orchards and botanical curiosities. We learn, among other things, about medieval orchards, picking cherries and apples, pomegranates and quinces … sheep and orchard undergrowth. Beautifully illustrated and written with infectious and cultured enthusiasm, anyone who is even a tentative gardener will cherish this lovely book.”
Brian Fagan, author of The Little Ice Age and The Intimate Bond

“An exquisitely beautiful and fascinating book.”
Caroline Eden, award-winning travel and food writer, author of Red Sands

“Fruit was there at the beginning of the human story, Bernd Brunner argues in this crisply written and lushly illustrated book, and it’s been with us ever since—in birth and death, peace and war, art and myth, science and religion. Taming Fruit left me with the lingering urge to visit the grocery store and gaze at all of the fruits, stranger and more wonderful than I'd ever noticed.”
Zach St. George, author of The Journeys of Trees

Taming Fruit is packed full of fascinating historical, botanical, and cultural information. The gorgeous images are transporting. Reading the book is like visiting the most enchanted orchards around the world. A true delight!”
Gina Rae La Cerva, author of Feasting Wild: In Search of the Last Untamed Food

“This rich combination of glorious illustrations with cultural history, botany, anthropology and personal anecdote will enthral and delight anyone curious about the origins of orchards and the fruit they bear.”
Helena Attlee, author of The Land Where Lemons Grow and Lev's Violin

“A compelling story, interspersed generously with beautiful garden-inspired art.”
The Victoria Times Colonist 

“From American cider orchards to Mediterranean citrus groves, this beautifully illustrated book is an enticing insight into the world of fruit trees. Brunner's eloquent and engaging account reminds us that the magic of the orchard extends far beyond its fruit.”
Leif Bersweden, author of The Orchid Hunter: A Young Botanist's Search for Happiness

A beautifully illustrated journey through different lands and time, Bernd Brunner’s TAMING FRUIT enlightens us on the deep and winding history of how humans have used fruits, and capitalized upon their sweetness and delight for our palates!”
Nezka Pfeifer, Museum Curator, Stephen and Sachs Museum, Missouri Botanical Garden

Taming Fruit's fascinating tales, paired with gorgeous historical art, are potent lessons in cultivation that we can imitate today— for sustainability, freshness, and the joy of eating one's own peach or olive.”
Erica Gies, environmental journalist

“Amidst all the doom and gloom about the destruction of nature, a beam of light: Bernd Brunner’s fantastic book opens our eyes for the orchard as a way of life in which nature and culture co-exist. I’m now dreaming of the world as one gigantic orchard, teeming with life.”
Christian Schwägerl, journalist biologist and author of The Anthropocene

“A poetic insight into the deep history of the fruits of our earth, how we have shaped them, and how they have shaped us.”
Andri Snær Magnason, author of Time and Water