Due to the death of a friend, Maine apple guru John Bunker will not be able to attend this Saturday’s Great Maine Apple Day, an event he helped found. As a result, the organizers have been scrambling since Thursday to find other experts to fill in the gaps left by Bunker’s absence.

“Thankfully John’s got a lot of contemporaries now,” said Andrew Marshall, who directs educational programs for the Maine Organic Gardeners and Farmers Association, where the event will be held.

“There’s a lot of expertise in the state on this topic. John’s been at it for 30-plus years, and he’s got a lot of people interested.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sponsored by MOFGA, Fedco and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the event celebrates Maine’s orcharding heritage, educates attendees on the huge number of apple varieties grown in Maine, and gives people the know-how to start or expand an orchard.

Popular attractions at the event include a rare and heirloom apple display. The display covers numerous tables, and each apple is accompanied by a knife so attendees can have a taste. Another crowd-pleasing portion of the event is the opportunity to have mystery apples identified by a panel of experts.

According to Marshall, several hundred people attend the Great Maine Apple Day each year, and they range from hard-core fruit explorers who seek out unusual varieties to those who just want to buy some apples.

A number of vendors will be at the event selling apples, apple cider vinegar, candied apples, baked goods, apple ladders, orchard tools and books. A press will produce fresh cider throughout the event.

Those who attend are encouraged to bring apples from their own trees to share, and everyone who participates is bound to leave with new knowledge.

“There’s still so much left to learn and discover,” Marshall said. “We’re starting to rediscover that a lot of these old-life ways and traditions are the way forward.”

 

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at: akamila@pressherald.com