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Downeast Hierloom Apple Week

COA co-sponsors event featuring eating, drinking, learning about apples
October 1 - 9, 2011 - Perry and Ellsworth, Maine

applesIn 1850, there were 10,000 known varieties of apples in Maine. On every farm and homestead they were eaten fresh and used for cooking, drying, and for making hard cider. Today, only a handful of apples are commonly available in grocery stores. The Downeast Heirloom Apple Week, from October 1 through 9, hopes to remind people of the taste, history and importance of a diversity of this fruit.

The event is sponsored by a new organization, the Downeast Food Heritage Collaborative, a partnership between the College of the Atlantic, Woodlawn Museum, and Healthy Acadia, to focus on the food heritage of Downeast Maine. Todd Little-Siebold, COA faculty member in history, co-founded the organization following a class titled The History of Agriculture: Apples in which students undertook local historical research on apples and orchards in the area.

Apple Events:

  • The week will begin on October 1 at the Perry Harvest Fair, in Perry, ME, with cider pressing, apple bobbing, apple identification, and an exhibit. The Apples of Downeast Maine will be at the Perry Municipal Building on Route 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Apple Week continues with school programs throughout Hancock and Washington Counties run by Healthy Acadia's Farm to School Program. These programs include lessons on the region's apple heritage and cider pressing demonstrations using apples gathered by students.

  • The keynote talk is at the Woodlawn Museum at 5 p.m. on Friday, October 7 by Peter Hatch, Director of Grounds and Gardens at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. He will speak on "Fruit Trees and Horticulture of the Early Republic." Hatch has been responsible for the maintenance, interpretation, and restoration of the 2,400-acre landscape at Monticello since 1977 and is the author of The Fruits and Fruit Trees of Monticello: Thomas Jefferson and the Origins of American Horticulture. A 4 p.m. reception and book signing will precede the talk.

  • The keynote event is a daylong apple festival on Saturday, Oct. 8 at Woodlawn, complete with orchard tours by COA's Little-Siebold, talks, a cider making workshop, cider pressing, and children's activities. The event is free and open to the public with the exception of the workshop for which there is a $20 fee.  

  • The Downeast Heirloom Apple Week concludes with an apple pie contest at the 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Woodlawn Farmers' Market on Sunday, Oct. 9. The public is invited to enter the contest. Registration starts at noon; judging begins at 1 p.m. Several fruit and apple producers will be guest vendors at the market.

The goal of the Downeast Food Heritage Collaborative is to offer regional communities the opportunity to think about the history of farming so as to envision a future that includes healthy food produced on local farms.  It is supported by a grant from the Hancock County Fund at the Maine Community Foundation. For more information on the Downeast Heirloom Apple Week please visit  

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