Monday, March 10, 2014
Have you always wondered about an ancient apple tree on your property? Then pick one of the fruits and bring it to the Great Maine Apple Day Sunday, Oct. 21 in Unity and see if the experts can identify your mystery apple.
Maine has a long history as an apple producing state. And while many trees were chopped down during Prohibition (since making hard cider was one of the primary purposes of apples in days gone by), some of these old and treasured varieties still linger in overgrown pastures and along the edges of neglected homesteads. Others continue to produce in commercial orchards, despite efforts in the 1920s to standardize the market and severely limit the number of varieties grown in Maine.
According to Maine apple expert John Bunker, hundreds of apple varieties once grew across the state with roughly 200 varieties originating in Maine. Today Bunker maintains the Maine Heritage Orchard at the headquarters of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association in Unity, where the apple festival will be held.
In addition to apple identification, the event features workshops on cider making, organic tree care, Maine's apple history and apple art. Vendors will sell apples, cider and apple products, along with wine, chocolate, honey and cheeses. Those who attend will have a chance to sample a wide variety of apples.
The Great Maine Apple Day takes place rain or shine from noon to 4 p.m. at the Common Ground Education Center, 294 Crosby Brook Road. Tickets cost $4, or $2 for members of MOFGA and the Maine Pomological Society. For more information, visit www.mofga.org.Tweet
Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.