Maine officials are recognizing a farmer as the state's "apple whisperer" for his years of work to preserve different varieties of the fruit.
Gov. Janet Mills and Agriculture Commissioner Amanda Beal have presented apple grower John Bunker with this year's Commissioner's Distinguished Service Award. Beal says Bunker's "years of identifying and cataloging the vast diversity of apple varieties that exist in the state of Maine has resulted in the preservation of an amazing array of characteristics."
The state gave Bunker a plaque that describes him as "Maine's own 'Apple Whisperer'". Beal described Bunker's Palmero farm as a "living genetic bank" that will help preserve apple varieties for generations.
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Bunker also contacted the Mills administration about installing a heritage apple orchard at the Blaine House, the governor's official state residence.