Join Island Heritage Trust and Stonington Public Library for an afternoon with Maine state’s “apple whisperer,” John Bunker, on the art of apple detection—an open-air event for all ages co-sponsored by Deer Isle-Stonington Historical Society and Healthy Island Project
From 2.00 pm until 4.00 pm
Consider the apple. That’s precisely what John Bunker has done for over four decades, accumulating an encyclopedic knowledge of heritage apple tree varieties. Island Heritage Trust and Stonington Public Library in collaboration with Deer Isle-Stonington Historical Society and Healthy Island Project are thrilled to co-host an afternoon with John Bunker on Saturday, September 11 from 2-4pm. The event will take place outdoors at IHT, 420 Sunset Road, Deer Isle. John Bunker will speak on the art of apple detection followed by a book signing and apple identification, plus other apple activities for all ages.
Bunker’s name will be familiar to many on our island, but even those who don’t know him by name have likely seen or heard him in his tireless work advocating for the preservation of our shared delicious history. John is also a staple at the Common Ground Country Fair, and many make the pilgrimage with an apple in hand for John to consider. In 1984, John created the Fedco Trees catalog as a way to keep a written record and to share the fruits of his labor with more and more people. Thirty years later, John led the way again when the first trees were planted in the Maine Heritage Orchard on Earth Day, where there are now over 300 varieties of pear and apple trees. To complete an abbreviated list of his accomplishments, John has also published two books: Not Far From the Tree: A Brief History of the Apples and the Orchards of Palermo, Maine, 1804-2004 and, most recently in 2019, Apples and the Art of Detection.
He’s forgotten more about apples than most of us will ever know. His monikers include an official title, Apple Whisperer, designated by Governor Mills and simply Apple Guy to friends. In media profiles state and nationwide, John has let it be known that he’s not an orchardist. Rather, he’s a self-taught explorer, not unlike John Muir, whose subject is that most famous of American fruits: the apple. In his quiet spoken approach, John has pioneered a field where there was none before. He’s the go-to guy, which is to say expert, for finding, identifying, and preserving heritage apple tree varieties dating back to the early 1800s.
Come bearing fruit from your funky old trees for John to identify. The funkier the tree, the better (bring fresh fruit). You may have an as-yet unidentified heritage apple tree variety hidden on your property. Registration is not required but highly recommended in order to receive any event updates. You can register below or call 367-5926.
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