307 Applebee Rd, Milton Mills, NH 03852

Orchardist John Bunker: ‘A History of Apples in New England’

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Box 191, Union, NH 03887

Date: 1/7/2020

Orchardist John Bunker: ‘A History of Apples in New England’

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust (BHF/CSFCT) will present orchardist, gardener and apple historian John Bunker for a presentation about the history of apples in New England. The workshop will take place at 11 am on Saturday, April 4 at the Town of Middleton Old Town Hall, 200 Kings Highway, Middleton, NH.

In the early 1980’s, John Bunker started the mail-order nursery Fedco Trees, a division of the cooperative, Fedco Seeds. In 2012, he founded the Maine Heritage Orchard in Unity Maine. His recent book, Apples and the Art of Detection recounts his forty years of tracking down, identifying and preserving rare apples. Branch Hill Farm Executive Director Jared Kane is thrilled at Bunker’s planned visit, saying “John is the pre-eminent expert on heritage apples and we are so privileged to have him come speak to us!”

From the 17th to the early 20th century, thousands of varieties of heirloom apples (malus domestica) dominated the New England landscape, yet today only a handful are found in our grocery aisles. Bunker will address what has become of this historic wealth of varieties and what made them so special. He’ll give examples of lesser known apples such as Nodhead, Milden, and Granite Beauty and what they have in common. Anyone interested in apples and pears, agricultural history, New England history, cider, or simply curious about the old tree in their yard is encouraged to attend and bring questions.

Kane adds that the workshop with Bunker is a kickoff to the planting of a new Heritage Orchard at Branch Hill Farm in Milton Mills. Explains Kane, “This holistically managed orchard will feature historically grown apples and pears in the Moose Mountain and greater New England regions. Many of these will be cloned from old trees still surviving in back yards and fields. If you have an old apple tree you think should be included or have more questions about the Heritage Orchard please contact me at jared_kane@branchhillfarm.org.”

The workshop is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is helpful but not required. For more information or directions or to register, contact MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren at 603-978-7125 or email mmrgnh@gmail.com.

Branch Hill Farm/the Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust works to protect open space and working forests and to educate the public about sound forestry, conservation and agricultural practices; see www.branchillfarm.org. MMRG, a non-profit land trust, works to conserve and connect important water resources, farm and forest lands, wildlife habitats, and recreational land and offers many educational opportunities to inform all ages about the benefits of our region’s natural resources. For more information and a calendar of upcoming events, visit www.mmrg.info.

Photo of Bunker, taken by Russell French
Photo of Bunker, taken by Russell French


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