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JAK KAW Press

In 2015 Kent Whealy formed his own publishing company (JAK KAW Press, LLC) to ensure that Dan Bussey’s extensive research on apples and the appropriate pomological watercolors are recorded for posterity.  This new publishing venture is dedicated to creating books that celebrate the diversity of our food crops.  The Illustrated History of Apples in the United States and Canada, already being heralded as a pomological classic, is designed to comprehensively record and illustrate our food crop heritage in rich detail, thus helping to rescue and popularize the historic varieties that still exist.  

This unique seven-volume set of hardcover books (each 500-600 pages, 8½” x 11”) was printed and bound by Crescent Printing Company in Onalaska, Wisconsin, founded and family-owned since 1955.   All the inks are soy-based and the acid-free paper is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to ensure that the trees used in the papermaking process were harvested responsibly.  The book has been priced deliberately low to provide affordability for food historians and apple enthusiasts (growers, grafters, cooks, cider makers, breeders, collectors and sleuths).

 
 
 
 (Photo by Robert Rausch)

(Photo by Robert Rausch)

 

Daniel J. Bussey

Daniel Bussey is an orchardist, horticulturist, historian, professional cider maker and former businessman, who grew up and spent most of his life in rural southern Wisconsin.  Dan has taught workshops on grafting apple trees, cider making and other apple-related topics for more than 30 years and has grown heirloom apple varieties all of his life.  He has been featured on Public Radio International’s "The Takeaway" and National Public Radio’s "Science Friday" and has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles. 

Dan is not only fascinated with heirloom apples and cider making, but is a producer and grower of hard cider apples and has helped to introduce a new cider apple variety to the trade, Kronebusch Cider, with more varieties expected in the coming years.  He has attended the Cider and Perry Academy’s advanced cider course at Cornell University and is an avid promoter of the cider beverage industry.  Dan believes the essential element of craft cider making is the selection of the best varieties of apples possible – those with superior flavors, aromatics and phenolic structure.  Understand the apple and its myriad flavors, and everything else will follow. 

Dan’s lifelong interest in raising fruit, seeking out rare, missing heirloom varieties and researching the history of apple growing in the United States and Canada is matched only by his other fascination, that of collecting and preserving horse-drawn sleighs, wagons and hearses.  Over the years Dan has assembled one of the country’s largest collections of sleighs and commercial wagons of all trades.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Carriage Museum of America, based in Lexington, Kentucky, and is working on several upcoming publications on carriage history. 

Dan now resides near Decorah, Iowa, where he is the Orchard Manager and Apple Historian for the Seed Savers Exchange, maintaining and enlarging the Historic Orchard at Heritage Farm, and making heritage apple varieties available to orchardists.  Dan believes having a passion in life, whatever it might be, is the key to a satisfying life.

 
 (Photo by Judy Kern)

(Photo by Judy Kern)

 

Kent Whealy

For 32 years, Kent Whealy was the creative force behind the Seed Savers Exchange (SSE), leading the organization as its Executive Director from 1975-2007.  During that time Kent created and oversaw all of the annual editions of Seed Savers Yearbook, whose 8,000 members distributed an estimated 1,000,000 samples of rare seeds, and also all of SSE’s membership publications, books and seed catalogs.  Throughout that period he amassed SSE’s seed collection of 26,000 rare vegetable varieties, designed and supervised the efforts to maintain and store the collection, and distributed it as widely as possible to SSE’s members and the gardening public.

Always tirelessly promoting SSE, Kent gave more than 125 major lectures in the U.S. and dozens of lectures overseas.  His international efforts included planning and funding 12 plant collecting expeditions to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union (working with some of the world’s preeminent plant collectors/scientists at the Vavilov Institute of Plant Industry in St. Petersburg, Russia and the Gatersleben Seed Bank in eastern Germany), which brought 4,000 traditional varieties from 30 Eastern countries into SSE members’ seed collection.

Kent’s vision and hard work also created and funded Heritage Farm (SSE's headquarters) and the adjacent 716-acre Twin Valleys, where he designed, implemented and supervised several watershed genetic preservation projects:  23 acres of certified organic Preservation Gardens; Historic Orchard containing 700 varieties of pre-1900 apples; and two herds of Ancient White Park cattle – the rarest cattle in the English-speaking world.  Kent successfully funded the organization and its staff, land purchases and projects with his highly successful grant writing, sales of the publications he originated and edited, and catalog sales of heirloom seeds.

Numerous awards for Kent's genetic preservation efforts include a MacArthur Fellowship (1990), honorary doctorate from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa (1991), and Russia's prestigious N. I. Vavilov Medal (1996).  Kent is currently a trustee of the Ceres Trust, a private grant making foundation focused on organic agricultural issues.