John Bunker’s “Maine Heritage Orchard”
Online Chat with Skidompha Library on October 29
“The Maine Heritage Orchard”: What is it and why should we care?
Skidompha Library’s Chats with Champions will feature John Bunker, Maine’s own heritage apple expert, at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 29.
Bunker will speak on the topic of “The Maine Heritage Orchard – What is it and why should we care.”
During the nineteenth century hundreds of apple varieties were grown in Maine. By the early twentieth century small diversified farms, with ten or twenty apple trees, had given way to large orchards of Macs and Cortlands. Apples arrived with the first Europeans over 400 years ago and are part of Maine’s heritage. We can learn a great deal about our ancestors by growing their trees and eating the fruit they selected, named, and handed down to us. Preservationists are now racing against time to save the last of these lost varieties before they are gone forever.
For almost 50 years pomologist John Bunker has been pulling over by the side of the road to marvel at ancient apple trees, has picked his way through old books and diaries, hung out with old timers, grafted new trees, and made lots of pies, sauce and cider in his quest to re-discover the identity of the forgotten apple varieties of Maine. To preserve these heritage apple varieties, John created the Maine Heritage Orchard at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners farm in Unity ME with the support of Russell Libby, MOFGA’s director.
Bunker’s book, Apples and the Art of Detection, about the old varieties and why we should rescue them is told as a detective story with photographs and artwork galore. It is beautifully illustrated by the author himself. The book is available to purchase at Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop.
All those wishing to attend this online Chat, through Zoom, visit this link to sign up. Those attending will be emailed a link prior to the event.
Chats with Champions is a free community offering from your national award-winning Skidompha Library at 184 Main Street, Damariscotta, Maine. This program is generously sponsored by Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop. For more information, please call the Library at 207-563-5513.