Conversations from the Pointed Firs 9/1/23: John Bunker

Host: Peter Neill
Producer: Trisha Badger
Music by Casey Neill

Conversations from the Pointed Firs is a monthly audio series with Maine-connected authors and artists discussing new books and creative projects that invoke the spirit of Maine, its history, its ecology, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life. Airs the first Friday of every month from 4-5pm. Online at

This month:
This month on Conversations from the Pointed Firs host Peter Neill sits down with John Bunker, homesteader, farmer, orchardist, author, apple historian, co-founder of FEDCO Trees, and founder of MOFGA’s Maine Heritage Orchard, 10-acre preservation and educational orchard located in Unity Maine home to over 360 varies of apples and pears traditionally grown in all 16 counties of Maine dating back to 1630.

John Bunker grew up in Massachusetts and California, moving to Maine in 1968. He has lived in Palermo on Super Chilly Farm for the past 51 years, where he and Cammy Watts grow vegetables, woody and herbaceous ornamentals, small fruits and tree fruits. They also run a rare-apple CSA together. For thirty-five years, he coordinated nursery sales for Fedco Trees, the co-op nursery company in Clinton. His passion is tracking down heirloom fruit varieties, particularly those originating in Maine. In 2012 he established the Maine Heritage Orchard at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association -MOFGA’s- Common Ground in Unity. Currently the orchard is home to 350 historic pears and apples. He is the author of two books: “Not Far from the Tree: A Brief History of the Apples and the Orchards of Palermo, Maine” and “Apples and the Art of Detection.” He speaks and teaches regularly in the New England area. You can learn more about what John and Cammy are up to by going to their website:

About the host:
Peter Neill is founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory, a web-based place of exchange for information and educational services about the health of the ocean. In 1972, he founded Leete’s Island Books, a small publishing house specializing in literary reprints, the essay, photography, the environment, and profiles of indigenous healers and practitioners of complimentary medicine around the world. He holds a profound interest in Maine, its history, its people, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.