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"One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, "What if I had never seen this before? What if I would never see it again?""
- Rachel Carson
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Photos and descriptions of all the apple varieties in the Maine Heritage Orchard

Black Oxford

Contribute to MOFGA’s Fruitful Future!

The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) is currently creating a ten-acre heritage orchard in Unity to preserve and protect Maine’s traditional apples and pears. The orchard, which will be unlike any other in Maine, 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, John has been assembling a unique collection of heritage fruit over the past thirty years. In an ongoing, state-wide treasure hunt for Maine’s ancient fruit trees, well over two hundred varieties have been identified and saved.
 
Fruit, grafting scions, as well as historical and cultural information on each variety will be made available for generations to come. The orchard, which will be managed using innovative, organic orchard practices, will be a learning laboratory and a model for backyard growers, orchardists, and agricultural educators. MOFGA will offer workshops and classes in the orchard year round. Prep work for the orchard has begun this summer; the first hundred varieties will be planted in April 2014.

For more information on how to get involved with the orchard project, stay tuned to the MOFGA website, come visit the orchard or come to the Common Ground Country Fair and attend one of John Bunker’s talks. He’ll be speaking about the new orchard all three days.

Details about Maine's heritage apple varieties.


    

 Developing the New Site

 
The most recent photos of the new orchard site appear at the top.
October 6, 2013 - Orchard Fall Soil Preparation Workshop and Volunteer Work Day. More than 30 volunteers helped John Bunker and others prepare planting areas for the orchard. They placed compost and soil amendments at each future planting site, rolled out hay mulch, staked each site and then enjoyed a lunch prepared in the MOFGA kitchen. Thanks, volunteers! And John Bunker, C.J. Walke and Jack Kertesz. Standard size trees will be planted in the prepared areas next spring.

Here's the recipe for soil amendments:
2 wheelbarrows of compost

2 qts. rock phosphate

2 qts. granular azomite

2 qts. greensand

1-1/2 qts. menafee humates
1 qt. blood meal

1 qt. kelp

3/4 qt. bone char



The terraces feature swales (trenches) dug into the back edge. These are filled with wood chips. The swales catch the water. The chips soak up the water and act like a sponge, releasing the water slowly into the terrace growing beds.

Machines created the terraces

On August 13,
volunteers gathered to
mark out the orchard terraces

The work of renovating the gravel pit began in August 2013

The gravel pit
before renovation began

 


    

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