Farmer’s Almanac ‘weed-dating’

Robert Fulford

In a world that changes too fast and allows grand old institutions to die like flies, please welcome The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2012, the 220th annual appearance of the U.S. edition and the 30th of the Canadian edition.

A pillar of continuity, The Old Farmer’s Almanac has already lasted an eon and doesn’t see why it shouldn’t continue for eternity. It may be thinner than it once was but so is The New Yorker. Certainly it doesn’t indulge in the whiny defeatism that imagines print being drowned in an ocean of digital chatter.

The Almanac places some of its information on a website (almanac.com) but its fundamental identity rests, as always, on old-fashioned type and old-fashioned illustrations printed on cheap but serviceable paper.

That’s the way it was in 1792 when Robert B. Thomas, a Massachusetts teacher and bookbinder, founded it. He printed information that Thomas felt farmers should have, ranging from the daily times of sunrise and sunset to up-to-date stagecoach schedules — and, of course, long-range weather forecasts.

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