Welcome to Fedco’s 38th annual tree order!

Our goal is to provide the hardiest and healthiest plants available for cold climates, while supporting plant diversity, small-scale local agriculture, and a fair, cooperative and responsible workplace. Fedco is a small consumer/worker-owned cooperative founded in 1979. Our workspace is low-frills; we value fair pricing and livable wages. Profits are redistributed to consumer and worker members. Consider joining our co-op or applying for employment with us!

This year’s final ordering deadline is March 4. Note our discounts for large orders, with their discount deadline of January 14, 2022, in the sidebar or hamburger.

For many years we held our festive annual Tree Sale at our warehouse. If we see a safe window for that opportunity again, we’ll let you know. In the meantime, all orders are shipped in spring.

As usual, we have varied our plant selections. We offer most of the old favorites every year and rotate through dozens of new offerings. You’ll find new fruit trees, ornamentals and perennials throughout the catalog. We contract with dozens of growers and the bulk of our supply is grown locally on small diversified farms. While we do not label our woody plants as organic, nearly all of our fruit trees and many of our shrubs are grown by these standards, tended by hand and cultivated with horses. Many of our herbaceous perennials are certified organic and labeled as such.

If you have questions or concerns about your order, please contact us. If you are looking to place a very large order, drop us a line to discuss the options. We’re here to help. If you haven’t already, check out our Seeds & Supplies and Bulbs catalogs. If you enjoy this one, we’re pretty sure you’ll like those, too. We invite you to share with us your experiences growing plants. Many of our selections result from your suggestions. If you know of something growing near you that we should be offering, please write to us: questions@fedcoseeds.com

A sheet spread beneath an apple tree can receive only apples;
a sheet spread beneath the stars can receive only stardust.

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This year’s print catalog is a tribute to the founding of Fedco Trees, and particularly to its founder John Bunker, who has retired from our day-to-day operations. It’s been a funky winding path to get here, and we got a kick out of looking back. We drew from multiple sources to string together a Fedco Trees retrospective, beginning with the discovery of the Black Oxford apple more than 200 years ago.

In 1927 the New England Cooperative Extension Agents created the New England Seven, a reductive list of apple varieties commercial orchardists were encouraged to grow. A campaign ensued to actively purge orchards of all other varieties, which were deemed unworthy. Fifty years later, a young homesteader happened along in Maine at a time when the rare trees that survived the Seven—as well as the century’s three severe test winters that took out tens of millions of apple trees—were leaning heavily toward the ground. John Bunker wasn’t shy about pushing through the weeds, climbing trees, and knocking on doors in search of forgotten apples and their stories, which lived only in old-timers’ memories or on dusty orchard maps. Tree by tree, mile after mile, he found the apples and researched until he matched them with names. Frederick Charles Bradford, who wrote Apple Varieties in Maine in 1911, might have been pleased that his book would one day become the guiding tool for this quest and the foundation for a small, thriving tree nursery.

John is still hanging out behind the scenes of our apple pages, feeding us ideas and nudging us in new directions. He’ll never stop exploring. With the intrepid spirit of a great seeker, he deepens his inquiry into the lives of trees and into life itself. He won’t stop until he’s saved every apple he can from extinction…and listened to every great jazz record a thousand times. I have adored working with John, who has become one of the greatest mentors of my life, always modeling cooperation, deep listening, and a nimble sense of humor. In times of confusion, he offers the right words at the right time, the glass always half-full to brimming. John, we extend our biggest heartfelt Thank You for all you’ve done and all that you are. We love you!

Happy Planting and glad tidings to all in the year to come.

—Jen Ries & the Fedco Trees Team

Recent additions to Bunker’s bookshelf

American Cider by Dan Pucci and Craig Cavallo
The Artist and the Orchard: A Memoir by Linda Hoffman
The Illustrated History of Apples in the United States and Canada by Dan Bussey
Odd Apples by William Mullan
The New Cidermaker’s Handbook by Claude Jolicoeur
Uncultivated: Wild Apples, Real Cider, and the Complicated Art of Making a Living by Andy Brennan
The Wild Apple Forager’s Guide by Matt Kaminsky

Staff reading picks

Read your Fedco Trees catalog cover to cover? Here are Fedco staff reading recommendations to help you through winter.
Beyond the War on Invasive Species by Toa Orion
Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard
Iwígara: American Indian Ethnobotanical Traditions and Science by Enrique Salmón
Malus A quarterly print zine featuring essays, cider criticism, poetry & art (maluszine.com)
Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines: A Guide to Using, Growing, and Propagating North American Woody Plants by William Cullina
Natural Landscapes of Maine: A Guide to Natural Communities and Ecosystems by Susan Gawler and Andrew Cutko
The Nature of Light and Colour in the Open Air by M. Minnaert
The Nature of Oaks: The Rich Ecology of Our Most Essential Native Trees by Douglas W. Tallamy
Opening Your Wild Heart to the Healing Herbs by Gail Edwards

John Bunker, Laura Childs, Lauren Cormier, Jacob Mentlik and Jen Ries wrote plant descriptions. Elisabeth Benjamin edited with help from Joanna Linden and Emily Skrobis; Joanna Linden translated to the web with help from Sarah Oliver and Emily Skrobis. Laura Childs and Elizabeth Smedberg did the catalog layout.