Phyllis Kilcherman's chief focus in the book and in her remarks to the assembled audience was the family farm angle and the recipes. "Family farms are disappearing," she said, explaining why she wanted to document the various families who had lived and worked the land now known as Christmas Cove Farm.
John Kilcherman had stories of playing softball in an old orchard when he was a boy. "Everyone had to hit into left field," he said, "because we didn't have enough players for right field." He told how he first got interested in old apple varieties and started planting one or a few of each at a time, but only on marginal land and along fence rows, as he didn't want apple trees to take up valuable growing space.
It was 1975 when the Kilchermans first started growing apples, "and we had so much fun," Phyllis said, "that we wanted to share them with friends." They began to put together gift boxes. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Those who have visited Christmas Cove Farm know that John Kilcherman has an enormous collection of antique bottles, but they may not know he also has quite a collection of old books, featuring (not surprisingly) many books on farming and fruit growing. So it is a serious compliment to the photographer when John says he thinks her photographs of apple varieties are some of the best he's ever seen. All apples were photographed in the orchard, on the tree, in natural light, and the results are spectacular.
All in all, it was an evening of celebration, a dream come true for Phyllis Kilcherman, and the response from the gathered Northport crowd was heartwarming. What a satisfying way to wind up the season's author events at Dog Ears Books!