ELLSWORTH, Maine –Â In 1850, there were 10,000 known varieties of apples in the state of Maine. On every farm and homestead they were eaten fresh and used for cooking, drying, and for making hard cider. The Downeast Heirloom Apple Week, October 1st through 9th , will feature a series of activities aimed at educating people about this rich history including talks by national experts, school programs, a daylong apple festival, and an apple pie contest. The week is being organized by the Downeast Food Heritage Collaborative, a partnership between the College of the Atlantic, Woodlawn, and Healthy Acadia, and is supported by a grant from the Hancock County Fund at the Maine Community Foundation.
The week will begin with the Apples of Downeast Maine at the Perry Harvest Fair from 9 am to 3 pm at the Perry Municipal Building, Route 1, Perry, Maine. It will continue with school programs throughout Hancock and Washington Counties run by Healthy Acadiaâ€™s Farm to School Program. These special school programs include lessons on the region’s apple heritage and hands hands-on cider pressing demonstrations using apples gathered by students.
At Woodlawn on Friday October 7th, Mr. Peter Hatch, Director of Grounds and Gardens at Thomas Jeffersonâ€™s Monticello, will present a 5 pm lecture titled The Fruits and Fruit Trees of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson and the Origins of American Horticulture. Mr. 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 pm reception and book signing will precede Mr. Hatchâ€™s 5 pm talk followed by a question and answer session.
A daylong apple festival will take place on Saturday, October 8th at Woodlawn. Guests can learn about the history of Downeast Apples during this special all day event that will include orchard tours, talks, a hard cider making workshop, cider pressing, and childrenâ€™s activities. The event is free and open to the public with the exception of the hard cider making workshop for which there is a $20 fee.
The Downeast Heirloom Apple Week concludes with an apple pie contest at the 11 am to 2 pm Woodlawn Farmersâ€™ Market on Sunday, October 9th. The market will feature several fruit and apple producers as guest vendors. The public is invited to enter an apple pie in the contest. Registration starts at noon and judging starts at 1 pm. The pies will be judged in several categories with the winners receiving special gifts.
The Downeast Food Heritage Collaborative is a project of Woodlawn, Healthy Acadia, and the College of the Atlantic with a focus on the food heritage of Downeast Maine. The partnershipâ€™s goal is to provide Downeast communities with the opportunity to think about the history of farming so that they can envision a future that includes healthy food produced on local farms. The initial focus on apples is the result of College of the Atlantic Professor Todd Little-Seiboldâ€™s class titled â€śThe History of Agriculture: Applesâ€ť in which students undertook local historical research on apples and orchards in the area.
Woodlawn is an educational, cultural, and recreational treasure for the people of Downeast ME. The main house is open for tours through October 31st. The public park is open year round, sunrise to sunset. Rte 172 (Surry Road), Ellsworth, ME. For more information on the Downeast Heirloom Apple Week please visit www.woodlawnmuseum.org.
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