The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) is currently creating a 10-acre heritage orchard in Unity to preserve and protect Maine’s traditional apples and pears. The orchard will include over 500 specimens from every county in the state. The varieties that will be included date back to a time when most Mainers lived on farms and every farm had a small orchard of locally adapted selections. Many of these varieties are now on the verge of extinction. The Maine Heritage Orchard will be under the direction of MOFGA’s John Bunker, a nationally recognized expert in historic fruit. With the help of other agricultural historians, numerous “old timers” and hundreds of apple enthusiasts from around the state, Bunker has been assembling a unique collection of heritage fruit over the past 30 years. In an ongoing, state-wide treasure hunt for Maine’s ancient fruit trees, well over 200 varieties have been identified and saved. For more information visit www.mofga.org.
This article appears in the January 2014 issue of Acres U.S.A.