Five Star Nursery & Orchard
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Name:          Five Star Nursery & Orchard

Address:       Leslie Cummins

                      Tim Seabrook

                      853 Bay Road

                      Brooklin, Maine  04661

Phone:           207-359-2282


Products and Services:

-certified organic fruit

-farmers‘ markets and stores


-Asian pears





-certified organic fruit trees

-landscape trees

-unpasteurized wild organic cider

-sweet cider

-raw apple cider vinegar

-seasonal fruit tree pruning

-orchard design and consultation

What Makes Five Star Nursery and Orchard Unique?

While some orchards have chosen to diversify with a large assortment of value added products, a great deal of advertising, and the planning of special events such as musical gatherings, the peaceful and secluded atmosphere at Five Star Nursery and Orchard is one that seems associated with a throwback to earlier times.  Leslie Cummins and Tim Seabrook established their orchard and nursery back in 1987, and they have remained focused on a deep appreciation for rare fruit varieties, historic landscape design, health concerns, and organic practices.

As a certified member of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Five Star Nursery and Orchard manages their operation using compost, green manure crops, mulches, and soil amendments.  They have turned to organic sprays and traps to deal with garden pests.  In their flier they mention that they are experimenting with biodynamic preparations to solve the “difficult pest and disease pressure which is the sixty year old legacy of all apple orchards after the onslaught of chemical industrial farming.”

A visit to their cider house provides a feeling of stepping back in time when things were much simpler.  Tim and Leslie press unpasteurized wild organic cider and believe that raw cider is a much more healthy option

for cider consumers.  Heat-processed cider, in their opinion, has significantly lower levels of vitamins.  They pride themselves on the fact that their organic varieties of apples produce a complex rich flavor that results from a combination of sweetness, tartness, aroma, and astringency.

Five Star Nursery and Orchard makes cider from September until December.  Their late-pressed autumn cider utilizes various winter apples such as Golden Russet, Roxbury Russet, Russet Pearmain, Winter Grevenstein, Starkey, Baldwin, Black Oxford, King David, and Tompkins King.  They open up their cider house to people in the community who are interested in pressing their own apples for vinegar or hard cider.

In the cellar of their home Tim and Leslie make live-culture apple cider vinegar.  Late winter-keeping apples mixed with wild Maine apples are needed to make alcoholic hard cider.  The sweet cider that is fermented into hard cider is then made into cider vinegar.

The process of making cider vinegar is quite time consuming and labor-intensive. Five-gallon glass carboys (containers) are filled with cider.  They are air-locked and decanted after a few months of intense fermentation.  A second fermentation and decantation takes place.  Hard cider is further cultured by adding “mother of vinegar” for another six months to make cider vinegar.  The cider vinegar produced by Five Star Nursery and Orchard abounds in vitamins, pectins, and other solids. It is recommended for a cleansing diet that proves beneficial to the liver and gallbladder.

Apple cider has been a highly-prized folk remedy dating back to the time of the Egyptians.  Tim and Leslie value old-time

medicinal approaches and praise Medical and Hygienic Properties of Cider and Its Manufacture which was written by Dr. Edouard Denis-Dumont of France, and published in 1883.  They also recommend Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor’s Guide to Good Health published in the 1950’s by Dr. Clinton Jarvis; Cider Hard and Sweet by Ben Watson; and Bragg’s raw vinegar website.

Accompanying Leslie and Tim’s interest in some highly-respected older farming and medical books, is an appreciation for the heirloom varieties of many fruit trees.  Clapp’s Favorite pear trees, which originated in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1840, and which have done well in Maine for quite some time, are sold at Five Star Nursery and Orchard.  Their selection of apple trees includes many rare and old heirloom varieties.  The Beacon apple tree was introduced in the 1930’s and is naturally pest resistant.  The Lady apple tree, which they grow and sell, dates back to medieval France and possibly even Roman times.

Other bare-root apple varieties that Tim and Leslie sell include the early varieties of Astrachan, Canadian Strawberry, Cole’s Quince, and Duchess of Oldenburg.  Their mid-season apple varieties include Baldwin, Fameuse or Snow, Grimes Golden, Liberty, Priscilla,  and Tolman Sweet.  The late season apples include Gold Rush, King David, Northern Spy, Yellow Bellflower, Winter Gravenstein, Winter Red Flesh, and Wolf River.

Bare-rooted Asian and European pear trees are offered at Five Star Nursery and Orchard. Their plum trees include Asian-American hybrids, European, and Japanese varieties.  The Reliant peach trees, that were grafted and grown right at Five Star Nursery and Orchard, are exceptionally hardy trees. These organic trees do very well in the rare coastal zone where Five Star Nursery and Orchard is located on the Deer Isle peninsula.

In the past, the bare-rooted trees that Leslie and Tim grow have been available for sale and pickup at the nursery for three days at the end of April.  Five Star Nursery and Orchard publishes a catalog of the trees that they grow. It contains a great deal of information about the planting requirements and the qualities and uses of the fruit from each specific tree.

The organic peaches and fruits that are grown by Tim and Leslie and their gourmet vinegars, rosemary seedlings, and canned preserves are sold at various farmers’ markets including the Blue Hill Farmers’ Market, Stonington Market, and the Ellsworth Market.  Their products are carried at the Blue Hill Co-op, Belfast Co-op, and John Edwards Store.  Restaurants which purchase items that they sell include Cleonice, Brooklin Inn, Lily’s, The Forge, Blue Hill Inn, and Denny’s Wharf.

Tim and Leslie are skilled in grafting trees.  The Newt Grindle apple is a local East Blue Hill apple that they grafted for Phil Norris and Deborah Wiggs of Clayfield Farm whose farm profile has been included in this project.  This apple was a local apple that Newt originally cultivated for a pig apple.  It is now prized as a tasty eating and cooking apple.

Custom grafting to preserve historic varieties of apples is highly valued by Tim and Leslie.  They use scionwood from heirloom fruit trees to help preserve historic varieties for future generations.  They helped to plan and they manage the orchard at the historic Jonathan Fisher House in Blue Hill.  The house was built in 1814 by Jonathan Fisher, who was a minister, farmer, author, artist, surveyor, and businessman.

The orchard that once flourished at the two-hundred-year-old Fisher farm was neglected and overgrown.  A map depicting the contents of the original orchard proved helpful when the Board of Directors of the Jonathan Fisher House Museum decided to establish a smaller version of the original orchard.  Tim and Leslie, who were known for their expertise in historic landscape work, were asked to help plan and plant the trees.  They planted a Pippin tree and a Golden Roxbury Russet tree that were both species found in the original orchard.  They even were able to plant cherry trees that had been handed down from the original trees found on the farm.

As Unique Maine Farms has traveled throughout the state, it has been interesting to observe all the technological advancements that have been introduced at various farms. Equally exciting has been the opportunity to visit farmers like Leslie Cummins and Tim Seabrook, who understand the value of old-time farming methods, heirloom fruit trees, and historic preservation.  That venerable saying, “history repeats itself” certainly holds a great deal of truth at the Five Star Nursery and Orchard in Brooklin where historic farming practices and heritage trees have been introduced and are flourishing.





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