John Bunker examines an apple at the Sandy River Orchard, Mercer, Maine, with 90-year-old Francis Fenton, owner (in blue).
These are some of the varieties John Bunker is seeking:
Briggs Auburn: Originated on the farm of Thomas Record of Minot (then part of Auburn). The fruit is large and yellow with a red blush.
Carll: Originated about 200 years ago in Seco. It has been described as “a superior fruit, highly prized, and sought after for years.”
Cherry Pippin: Originated in Carmel about 130 years ago. The fruit is roundish and yellow, with red spots and tiny dark green dots.
Major Small: Also originated in Carmel about 130 years ago. The fruit is medium and flattish. It is a dull green with large green spots and a dull rosy blush.
Collins: Also known as Cherryfield, which is where it originated in 1850. The original tree was still standing in 1907. The fruit is large, roundish, yellowish green, splashed with crimson.
Franklin Sweet: Believed to have originated in Franklin County. The fruit is large, roundish, and pale yellow overlaid with crimson stripes.
Given’s Apple: Originated in Topsham in 1850. The fruit is red and conical—something like a Red Delicious but without the lobes at the calyx end.
Haynes Sweet: Originated in Swanville in 1835. The fruit is large, yellow, and splashed with scarlet, with a short stem.
Hoyt Sweet Apple: Originated in Franklin County in about 1830. The fruit is medium size and conical with unusual coloring. It is a greenish brown, with one side being greenish and the other russeted brown with numerous small black and red dots.
Narragansett: Originated in Buxton in 1873. Fruit is medium sized and is pale yellow splashed with crimson and overlaid with a deeper crimson on the sun-exposed side with numerous small white dots.
Source: Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Web site, www.mofga.org.