The Hunt For Mountain Gooseberry

| 4/25/2016 10:15:00 AM

Andrew WeidmanPurple Jewels

I admit it: I’m a gooseberry fanatic. I can’t exactly explain why. Maybe it’s because gooseberries are mysterious, unknown, and exotic. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’ve always been a sucker for the mysterious, unknown and exotic. Or maybe it’s because there are some exceptional gooseberries out there.

Small Fruit Orchardist

I’m also a fan of old books, especially old gardening and orchard books. Close to a decade ago I came across a passage in a fruit guide, Small Fruit Culturist by A. S. Fuller, written in 1885, that praised a Shaker gooseberry named ‘Mountain,’ developed in Lebanon PA.

I live in Lebanon, and had never heard of any Shaker establishments here. A quick aside: apparently, every state has at least one Lebanon; Pennsylvania has two, Lebanon in the Southeast, and Mount Lebanon in the Western half of the state. Also, we pronounce ours ‘Leb-nin,’ unlike the country of ‘Leb-ann-on.’ We can always tell when someone is a native of the area, just by how they say the name.