What Is the Farmer’s Almanac and How Popular Is It?

Whenever you need to check the weather, all you have to do is turn on the news or pull out your phone to get a good look at what the upcoming week will bring. Of course, it wasn’t always this way. What did people do before smartphones, before the news? Before televisions? Well, they could watch the skies and try to suss it out themselves, or they could consult a farmer’s almanac, an annual publication that predicts the year’s weather patterns. While most of us aren’t likely to open up an almanac anymore, they still exist, and they’re still surprisingly popular.

The Long History of the Farmer’s Almanac

There have always been multiple farmer’s almanacs, but the most popular one, and the one you’re probably most familiar with, is also known as the “Old Farmer’s Almanac.” Old is right: with its first issue released in 1792–yes, 16 years after the founding of the United States–the Old Farmer’s Almanac is the oldest regular publication in the United States. However, despite multiple generations and a constantly revolving staff of editors, the almanac has stayed relatively true to its original content of weather predictions, which are geared specifically toward farmers.

What’s Included in the Almanac

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, as well as most of the other competing almanacs, has almost always included weather predictions, moon phase charts, and gardening tips. The publication also tends to include writings on other topics, such as simple living and humor, somewhat like “Reader’s Digest.” One tradition that’s also held through the 200-plus years is the drilled hole made in the top left of the book so that a reader can hang it by nail or string. Now, with the Internet, you don’t necessarily need to wait for publication of the next edition. You can visit the almanac’s website to view the content yourself.

The Almanac’s Popularity

So, the Old Farmer’s Almanac has been around for a long time, but how popular is it? While sales figures aren’t readily available, a few other figures can point to the degree of success. For example, the Old Farmer’s Almanac’s Facebook page has about 1.5 million likes, while its Twitter page has more than 20,000 followers. You can also find the print publication in stores such as Home Depot, Target, and Walmart all across America, as well as on Amazon. Perhaps the biggest indicator of the almanac’s popularity, however, is indeed its longevity – the longest-running publication in the United States has to be pretty popular, doesn’t it? And with other books similar to the Old Farmer’s Almanac still in publication, it’s safe to say that the almanac in general is quite popular.

Naturally, the Old Farmer’s Almanac isn’t right all the time. Any predictions that are made a year out, based on things like astrological patterns and temperature averages, are simply less accurate than predictions made with modern doppler technology. Still, there’s something nostalgic and just pleasant about leafing through a farmer’s almanac. The next time you find yourself at a supermarket and you see one on display, do yourself a favor and check it out, if not for the accuracy, then for its long tradition and history.

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