John Bunker and David Buchanan gave a couple of talks on Cider Day all about their experiences with finding and planting heritage apples. They also got to sell their books. I knew about David’s book, Taste, Memory: Forgotten Foods, Lost Flavors, and Why They Matter, but I didn’t know that John had also written, and illustrated, a book about the apples and orchards of Palermo where he lives in Maine.
Not Far From the Tree: A Bried History of the Apples and the Orchards of Palermo Maine 1804-2004. After his wonderful and engaging talk I was delighted to find that he had written this book (he hadn’t mentioned it during his talk) and it was being sold at the Buckland-Shelburne Community Hall Cider Day site. I haven’t had a chance to sit down and really read the book but I did get past the Acknowdedgements page, where among other things, he siad that he had finally and with the help of “the Apple Professor Tom Burford, idenitfied the ‘Blake’ apple as a Grimes Golden. This will be a good update to David’s book in which he describes some outings searching for the Blake apple. As John said in his talk ‘exploring for apples is a project in process. It is something you are Doing all the time.” He said those who are exploring have to act like Sherlock Holmes, and that there are two different sorts of exploring. “Sometimes you are poking around to find a particular apples, and sometimes you are trying to find a name for an apple. Related, but two different processes.”
He also talked about the Preservation Orchard that MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners) is planting, concentrating on apples that originated in Maine. Like David, John is interested in finding locally adapted crops. One of my neighbors also attended the talk and by the time we left the Apex Orchard Farm Store where the talk was held, we had determined to talk to our own Heath Historical Society about exploring our own apple history (Heath used to have a number of orchards) and planting a selection of those apples on the Common or on Historical Society land.
You can learn more about John Bunker and his apple CSA by clicking here.
More about John Bunker and David Buchanan to come this week. I have to read a little more of Not Far From the Tree.