Category: Maine Heritage Orchard

Apple Tastings at the Common Ground Country Fair: Notes and Namings!

By C.J. Walke, MOFGA’s Orchard Program Manager At this year’s Common Ground Country Fair, the Hayloft Tent was packed with educational talks, abuzz with fruit enthusiasts hovering over our heritage fruit displays, and brimming with curious fairgoers looking to learn about topics such as beekeeping, beneficial plant propagation and permaculture, among many other things. However,

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DNA Fingerprinting Makes Apple Detection Easier for Fruit Enthusiasts

By C.J. Walke, MOFGA’s Orchard Program Manager For decades, fruit enthusiasts, explorers and experts have worked tirelessly to determine the identity of varieties found in abandoned orchards and on random roadside trees, and even the relatively younger tree that lost its nursery tag along the way. A lot of this detective work revolves around the

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Reflecting on 10 Years of the Maine Heritage Orchard

By Laura Sieger This summer marks the Maine Heritage Orchard’s 10-year anniversary. It’s pretty wild that a decade ago Dennis Jones and crew were shaping the old spent gravel pit into a terraced, plantable landscape that would become the Maine Heritage Orchard. John Bunker and Russell Libby had campaigned for a space to be used

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Old Pears Gain Ground in the Maine Heritage Orchard

By Lauren Cormier Over the last five years, another pome fruit has been making its way into the Maine Heritage Orchard: the European pear. So far there have been 20 pear trees planted, each a different variety historically grown in Maine. Many of the trees were propagated with scions obtained from the United States Department

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Orchard Understory Update

By Lauren Cormier I was one of many volunteers at the first tree planting day in the Maine Heritage Orchard eight years ago in the spring of 2014. Then, hardly a plant was in sight within the precipitous gravel pit that descended sharply to a pond. It had recently been terraced and regraded when we

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More Than Just Apples: A Polyculture Orchard

By Jacob Mentlik There is a lot more than just apples growing at the Maine Heritage Orchard. While most commercial orchards lean toward monoculture, featuring long even rows of one particular species of fruit tree, the goal at MHO is to create a polyculture orchard, with many species growing together in harmony, mimicking the diversity

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Wild Apples: Novel Pippins and Tough Trees

By Jacob Mentlik “Most fruits which we prize and use depend entirely on our care … but the apple emulates man’s independence and enterprise … making its way amid the aboriginal trees.” -Henry David Thoreau It is believed that the origin of the apples we all know and love can be traced back to south

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Apple Sleuths Get a Boost from DNA Testing

By Jacob Mentlik For decades Maine’s apple expert and pomological detective John Bunker has been hunting for and rediscovering rare old varieties of apples. Using all of the clues he can gather, he pieces together the history and possible locations of ancient trees, finds and collects fruit and then spends hours poring over old books

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Further Adventures in the Search for Sarah

Possibly the Sarah apple. Photo by John Bunker By John Bunker Readers of this column will recall my search for the Sarah apple – an old Franklin County variety that originated on the East Wilton farm of John Tufts and was named after his daughter. Old literature described it as “vigorous … productive, an annual bearer [that]

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Maine Heritage Orchard Update Spring 2017

The author in a Grasslings tree. Photo by John Bunker John Bunker with one of the Blake candidates. Photo by Laura Sieger By Laura Sieger, MEHO Intern In 2016, MOFGA’s Maine Heritage Orchard (MEHO) had another successful year. In April we planted 55 more heirloom varieties that were new to the orchard. From June through October MOFGA apprentices Nick

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