Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
2001 Great Maine Apple Day
The Great Maine Apple Day was a great success, drawing a crowd of over 600 to MOFGA's site in November.


Did you join us on November 10th for the GREAT MAINE APPLE DAY? Any and all possibly interested parties seem to have made an appearance that Saturday. They enjoyed lectures, tasting a wide variety of apples, and pie judging (and devouring!). Everyone was surprised with the enthusiasm that a simple four hours contained.

The event, held at MOFGA's Exhibition Hall, was produced by the Maine Pomological Society, the Waldo County Cooperative Extension (with much help from the greater Extension network), MOFGA, and FEDCO Trees. Help from the Maine Department of Agriculture, private individuals, and the fates helped pull off this large undertaking in half the planning time. Kudos to those who supplied the seemingly endless volume of sweat, patience and favors. As folks from across the state flooded into the beautiful post and beam hall, eager volunteers registered pies and apples for the day's contests. The 27 entered apple pies lined a table, which was cruised by hungry eyes all afternoon. Ten other long tables displayed the eighty-plus varieties of apples, brought by collectors and backyard orchardists, that were judged and tasted throughout the day.

Mark Fulford, soil nutritionist and fruit expert, gave an information packed talk on the finer points of cider-making (quality is established before the fruit is picked, he'll tell you). A home winemaking practicum was presented by Andrea Doyle. Her longtime involvement in the Maine wine community and personal experience made the demonstration a useful resource to those of us considering having an accomplished cellar. Jimmy Par, with a long career in beekeeping under his belt, spoke of the ancient art called mead. His liquid props helped illustrate how the extra honey once given as Christmas presents can be treated in the manner of its true calling. George Stilphen lectured to an overflowing crowd. Author of The Apples of Maine, his lifetime dedication to research and discovery of Maine's own apple varieties has been invaluable to agricultural preservation. His talk made many realize his work is not just documentation but can be used as a stepping-off point. In truth, the State of Maine offers diversity and adaptability in every region; we just have to acknowledge and develop it.

Multiple apple tastings were held throughout the day. The Maine Pomological Society members brought lots of varieties and value-added products for the public to sample and purchase. The Gyros food vendor sold out completely, and the other, Morgan's Mills, definitely filled a lot of tummies with goodies. Highmoor Farm, the state Experiment Station, brought some newly introduced apples to sample. Many of these recent breeding results were excellent, particularly one named Honeycrisp. Pie contest judges Rick Kersbergen of Cooperative Extension, Unity College president David Glenn-Lewin, and Windsor Fair Apple Queen Amanda Silva took on this difficult task (which, surprisingly, had many people begging to help). Looking serious and determined, the trio munched through the numerous styles of pies. Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture Ned Porter tabulated the results and played MC at the awards ceremony, with the help of the Apple Queen. Top pie honors went to Mary Jones (first), Kristina King (second), and Susan Davis (third). Many other delicious entries were consumed by ravenous hordes immediately following the last syllable from Ned Porter's lips.

Folks from all over Maine took home prizes for thest best representation of an apple variety, and many unusual and unnamed examples were studied. Everyone was in awe of the genetic spectrum and cultural significance of Maine's apples. Improvements and additions for next year's event are already being planned. Suggestions and comments are welcome. Interested parties should call or write MOFGA's offices with their contact information and ideas. The 600-plus people who came to The Great Maine Apple Day made it clear that this event was onto something big.

– Heron Breen


1st Place – Great Maine Apple Day 2001

Maine Apple Pie

Mary K. Jones, Cumberland. Maine

Crust:

2 cups flour

1/4 cup cake flour

1 tsp. salt

1/3 cup butter-flavored shortening

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. shortening

1 Tbsp. white vinegar

4 Tbsp. cold water

Filling:

6 cups thinly sliced apples

1/4 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1/8 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

pinch of cloves

1 Tbsp. butter or margarine

INSTRUCTIONS

Crust:

Sift flours and salt into a bowl. Cut in both shortenings. Add cold water and vinegar, 1 Tbsp. at a time, mixing with a fork until thoroughly blended. Form into a ball and divide in half. Roll out bottom crust and line a 9-inch pie plate. Dust with sugar and flour. Add filling. Dot with butter. Roll out top crust, place over filling. Flute edges, cut slits in top crust. Make an apple decoration out of left-over dough. Sprinkle with sugar.

Filling:

Pare apples, slice thin. Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and spices. Toss with apple slices. Fill pastry shell. Bake: 400°F for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and apples start to bubble through slits.

MOF&G Cover Spring 2002