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Farm and Garden Profiles
Articles about farms and gardens appear in every issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. In MOFGApedia, such profiles may be listed here, or in our "farming" section, or in other sections such as "weeds" or "food self-sufficiency."

Treble Ridge Farm
Treble Ridge Farm. Jean English photo for the Winter 2010-2011 Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

Articles

It would do you good to drive to Jackson, out in Waldo County, where the roads go up and down forever and the silent mountains line the horizon. Somewhere between the lowland bogs and the towering hemlocks, between the sweep of untamed spruce and pine woods, you’re sure to feel the lure of the quiet land; the feeling that there are things more expansive and wilder and maybe more important than you and your daily routine. I found that feeling in Jackson while walking the Earth Dharma Farm, where grapes and beautiful garlic grow.

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Starting or transitioning to an organic farm on a small scale takes dedication – and a good education and great observation and marketing skills. Going organic on hundreds of acres? That can be a significant financial and personal risk.

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Many of us know Eric and Becky Sideman in their capacities as farm-scale advisors: Eric as MOFGA’s organic crop specialist and Becky as Extension professor/specialist in sustainable horticulture production at the University of New Hampshire. Both present regularly at MOFGA’s Farmer to Farmer Conference and at other events geared toward farmers. But the Sidemans also work with gardeners – and they embrace the homesteader side of the MOFGA community on their own 10 acres in Strafford, New Hampshire. Here, on their zone 5a, 800-foot elevation, MOFGA certified organic East Wind Farm, they raise small commercial crops of strawberries and tomatoes as well as almost all the produce, eggs and meat they eat. Read the article.

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Personal chef, artisan baker and farm-to-fork caterer Billi Barker celebrates her love of farming through her food. The Enchanted Kitchen, the business name for Barker's many culinary alchemies, is physically located at her Fire Fly Farm in St. Alban's, Maine. Read the article.

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Sheep graze and ferment. They sniff and chew their way over the fields, taking what they like and unpacking it with bacteria in their awesome bellies. Simply by eating, they preserve and translate energies within the flow of an immutable cycle, acting as quiet guardians of the future-land, incubators and inoculators; conservationists wrapped in wool.

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Summer is an exciting time at the Deer Isle Hostel and Homestead. What for the rest of the year is a quiet and secluded place in the woods – our homestead – suddenly bursts with activity when each year Dennis Carter and I welcome hundreds of travelers from all walks of life. Our guests experience not just a good night’s sleep and a communal dinner each evening but also a way of life they might never have encountered before.

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After years of traveling Laura Neale dreamed of her own great land acquisition, but, as many young farmers in Maine soon learn, a gung-ho attitude is not the only tool needed to find one’s own farm. Neale also needed a great amount of resilience.

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Lois and Mahlon “Nick” Nichols raised five children (one now a MOFGA certified organic grower, Jim Nichols) on a Dewitt, Michigan, farm. During a recent visit to Maine, they talked to The MOF&G about the difficulties and rewards of the farming life they began more than 60 years ago. Many current MOFGA growers may see parallels.

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Bahner Farm’s 37 acres of woodlot and tillable land abuts a busy stretch of Rt. 3 in Belmont, Maine, with just enough road frontage for their farmhouse, barn and, most importantly, their newly built farmstand. When Mike and Christa Bahner purchased the land in 2009, location and road exposure were determining factors.

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Straw and SchillerDandelion Spring’s vegetable fields and Straw Farm’s rolling pastures form a checkerboard of organic agriculture on 50 acres in Newcastle, Maine. Beth Schiller of Dandelion Spring Farm and Lee Straw of Straw Farm are partners with independent businesses housed on the same land base. In 2012 they kicked off the inaugural season of their collaborative full-season, full-diet, free-choice Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program – the first of its kind in Maine.

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Human power at Long Meadow FarmLong Meadow Farm, located in West Gardiner, Maine, demonstrates a sustainable agriculture system based on low-input, low-tech organic farming. The 31.5 acres (2 acres cultivated for vegetables) is a vision of principles in practice, of ideologies carved out by hours of hard work – done mostly by hand. In 2012 Denis Thoet, farmer and farm owner, and Jon Ault, farm manager and MOFGA journeyperson, along with three apprentices are continuing this operation’s longstanding tradition of human-powered farming.

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Avena herb gardenOver nearly three decades, Avena Botanicals in Rockport, Maine, steadily has grown a 3-acre garden, a business and a reputation for quality herbal products – teas, tinctures, salves and more – all from 1,000 pounds of fresh, hand-harvested herbs. In the past year, that growth has taken a couple of giant leaps.

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Mike Bowman and Maria ReynoldsMike Bowman and Maria Reynolds named their Groundswell Farm after their farming ideology and the topography of the 7 acres they are leasing in Solon, Maine. Their 4 acres of MOFGA certified organic seed and market vegetable crops and 3 acres in cover crops crest in small hills, lending the landscape, in Reynolds’ words, likeness to the swelling sea. The name also harkens to the groundswell of general interest around sustainable organic agriculture, including seed production.

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New Beat FarmFarming with horses requires a different rhythm, attest Adrienne Lee and Ken Lamson while reflecting on the name of their New Beat Farm, now situated on 93 acres in Knox, Maine. Together Lee and Lamson cultivate 4 acres of certified-organic mixed vegetables, cut flowers and culinary herbs using a combination of horse and human power.

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Last January, the big commercial greenhouses at Half Moon Gardens in rural Thorndike, Maine, looked anything but green. Engulfed in deep snow, the tunnel-shaped poly-film structures at the end of an asphalt drive off Route 220 seemed more like an outpost in the Antarctic than a year-round garden center. But a walk inside the center's main entrance and showroom brought the tantalizing, spring-like fragrance of moist, fertile soil.

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Grassland Farm spans roughly 300 acres in Skowhegan, Maine, and as its name implies, more than half the land is open acreage used for rotational grazing and haying to feed Garin and Sarah Smith’s certified organic dairy herd. The Smiths purchased the farm – which also includes 120 acres of woods and a 14-acre homestead site with a farmhouse and tie-stall stanchion barn – from Sarah’s father, Robie Leavitt.

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Gabrielle Gosselin and Nate DrummondWhen Gabrielle Gosselin and Nate Drummond left their jobs and friends in New York City in 2006 to apprentice at Sandy and Paul Arnold's Pleasant Valley Farm in Argyle, New Your, they were, like most farm apprentices, on an information- and skill-gathering mission. During that growing season, their ambitions began to come into focus. By paying close attention to details of the Arnolds' diverse and profitable market vegetable operation, the couple saw the many challenges and rewards of the lifestyle and profession of farming.

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A Wrinkle in Thyme Farm in Sumner, Maine, takes its name from Madeline L’Engle’s book A Wrinkle in Time, which, said co-owner Marty Elkin, was influenced by the emerging knowledge of quantum theory. L’Engle used the quantum term tesseract to move characters into another dimension, a sort of time warp.

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Paul and Sandy ArnoldPaul and Sandy Arnold of Pleasant Valley Farm (118 South Valley Rd., Argyle, NY 12809; arnold.pvf@gmail.com) were the “Farmers in the Spotlight” at MOFGA and Maine Cooperative Extension’s 2010 Farmer to Farmer Conference in Northport, Maine.

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Alice Percy and sowsTreble Ridge Farm in Whitefield is a MOFGA-certified-organic, diversified farm – and one of an increasing number of MOFGA farms to include, in various ways, multiple generations and a supportive agricultural community.

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Kenneth CoopKenneth and Katie Copp moved their Old Order Amish Mennonite family, and their family business, to Thorndike, Maine, just over a year after Amish families started settling in the Unity area during the summer of 2009. Since moving to Maine the Copps have established a small bakery specializing in products made from freshly ground grains, and a home-scale woodworking business crafting traditional furniture.

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Tom and Theresa GaffneyWhen Rebekah Pressley boarded a bus in New Jersey to travel to central Maine, she had never heard of the small community she was headed to, let alone the state of Maine. And the 24-year-old had no way of knowing that she would soon be replacing her pills and bottles with berries and twigs. As part of her church-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, she would end up working at an organic blueberry farm in Stockton Springs.

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Hank Colletto at Ravenwood
Inch by inch, row by row, sustainability project by sustainability project, teachers and students at Ravenwood, an education-focused small farm in Searsmont, Maine, have created an ecological Mecca where nutrients and energy cycle close to home.

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Peter Curra
Peter and Susan Curra are not from Maine, although they have been farming here long enough that no one thinks otherwise. The farm and family history is rooted in Massachusetts soil, where they met, married, had their first of three children and started building a dairy herd.

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Megunticook MarketMeat producers and retailers are increasing their numbers in Maine – reflecting the increased demand for local foods. Here’s a glimpse at some of those farmers and vendors.

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David Wilson and Robert TaylorNew Zealander Bob Taylor visited HRH Prince Charles’ organic farm, the Duchy Home Farm, and interviewed farm manager David Wilson in October 1994. That visit was reported in a feature article in The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener, December 1995-February 1996 issue. In August 2009, Taylor revisited the farm to see what changes had been made over these 15 years.

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Bantry Bay FarmA historic saltwater farm in New Brunswick on the St. Croix River near Calais has a new lease on life thanks to the good luck, determination and hard work of four young farmers who migrated east from British Columbia a year ago. The four, who range in age from 21 to 24, worked at various jobs in B.C. but shared a growing interest in food and nutrition.

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The Gagne Family“Ahh, country living,” laughs Becka Smith Gagne as she prepares lunch for her four-year-old daughter, Oceanna, tells her apprentice Katie where to store onion braids, answers questions on life and the pursuit of happiness – all while eyeing her baby son, Rowan, who is moments away from learning to crawl. “Country living” is a catch phrase that she and her husband, Jeff, use to describe the life they’ve built on 22 acres of land in the shadows of Schoodic Mountain in Franklin, Maine.

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Home GrownOn a curve in Route 220 in Maine’s Washington village, near Route 17, hangs a wooden sign advertising “Aquaculture Engineering, Inc.” The driveway leads past the house to a gravel walkway that goes past a mid-sized barn and a small garden to an ordinary-looking greenhouse. Like many ordinary-looking farmsteads in Maine, this one offers much more than meets the eye. The greenhouse and the nearby outbuildings hide a unique, sustainable system of food and energy production.

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Don WebbI met Don Webb at a Farmer’s Market near Topsham, Maine. Tall and strapping, with a grizzled, full gray beard and a ruddy, weather-seasoned face, he was giving rides on a hay wagon pulled by two solid, beautiful gray Percheron draft horses.

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Jay Blackstone with tomatoesWhen I first spotted it, I thought it was an unlikely place for an organic farmstand: still within Ellsworth city limits, right off a fast stretch of Route 1, across the street from a hotel and in a residential neighborhood. Pulling up, I assumed the Blackstone Gardens farmstand would be just another folding tray full of excess zucchini. But the variety on the whiteboard was evidence of a real farm enterprise, and the lineup on the table was mouthwateringly impressive, including delicate lavender eggplants, batches of leafy herbs and heaps of ‘Cherokee’ tomatoes.

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Chrystal Spring FarmThe concept of "socializing kids into farming" competes with a process of "externalizing" farm families and communities that has been happening in New England since the 1800s. Crystal Spring Community Farm in Brunswick, Maine, may be inverting these trends.

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Roy and Ann AntakiNine years ago, Ana and Roy Antaki of Weeping Duck Farm in Montville moved from conventional, corporate jobs in Kansas City to a 150-acre former dairy farm in Maine. Since then they’ve moved from conventional back-to-the-land methods of feeding themselves to the newer (or older) method of preserving foods by fermentation.

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Linda TatelbaumIn 1973, a young Ph.D., Linda Tatelbaum, was teaching at a New Hampshire college when Watergate exploded, the Arab oil crisis hit, the college went bankrupt, and she couldn't pay her oil bill. With her good friend, dean of students Kal Winer, she decided to "drop out, do physical labor, earn my keep on this planet," writes Tatelbaum in her book, Carrying Water as a Way of Life: A Homesteader's History.

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Wolf Pine FarmThe fields of Wolf Pine Farm, where organic vegetables grow, and the share room, where Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members receive their produce, exist symbiotically under the watchful eyes of farm owners Amy Sprague and Tom Harms and in the capable hands of the young staff. Wolf Pine Farm, in Alfred, Maine, proves that the CSA model connects consumers extremely effectively with their food and the farmers who grow it.

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The Perron FamilyIn creating a 21st century organic farm, the Perron family – pronounced with the accent on the last syllable – of Sumner has incorporated many elements of a much earlier lifestyle. For starters, two generations share the land – “two entities working together” is the way son Dan Perron describes the operation.

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Jacob, Mark & Terry SilberMany people first visit Hedgehog Hill Farm for the widely advertised, free “Sundays in the Garden at 2.” Every Sunday afternoon from mid-June through August, the public is invited to stroll through the lush gardens and hear a lecture about some aspect of gardening at the 200-acre farm in the small, western Maine town of Sumner.

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Bonnie and Arnold PearlmanBonnie and Arnold Pearlman have been farming organically in Jonesport for 34 years. They can’t recall what year they were first certified by MOFGA, but Arnold says they were “among the very first.” The Pearlmans found their 20 acres of woods and blueberry barrens in the mostly unpopulated interior of the Jonesport peninsula in 1969.

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Verda BarnesThe Common Kitchen staff needs a lot of milk for the meals prepared during the Fair, and all of this milk is donated by Barnes & Barnes Organic Dairy in nearby Albion, which Verda Barnes runs with her son Basil. And Basil’s son Ricky. And Ricky’s children Alan and Ashley, plus Basil’s other granddaughter Brooke.

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Greenwood OrchardI met Stuart Beck’s apples before I met the grower himself. In the midst of the clamor and excitement of the annual family cider-pressing day, I couldn’t help noticing how sound and relatively unblemished were the apples going into the vintage machine. I was astonished to learn that the truckload of Gravensteins, gathered by simply shaking the trees over tarps and unceremoniously heaving them into the big pickup body, were all organic.

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Jan & Tim KingSince 1986, our farm has used a system of raised beds, drip irrigation, plastic mulch and fabric row cover tunnels. We’ve used this system or parts of this system for frost protection, weed control, irrigation, microclimate enhancement, moisture retention and insect control for 1000 to 4000 feet of warm season and brassica crops.

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Wayne Bragg“Organic is not business as usual,” says Wayne Bragg, an organic dairy farmer in Sidney, Maine. The bicentennial farm where he and his wife, Peggy, live was established in 1772 by John Bragg II, who took up a claim and built a little log cabin by the Kennebec River. The farmhouse was built in the 1880s by Caleb Bragg, who made his money in the bookbinding business. Now the farm continues, thanks to the organic market.

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Mary Ann HaxtonSerendipity guided the women at Wrinkle in Thyme Farm in Sumner, Maine, to discover WAgN when they were new farmers and WAgN was a new organization. Marty Elkin and Mary Ann Haxton had gone to the Extension office in Lisbon for information about reclaiming an apple orchard, balsam fir tipping and pasture management.

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Beth Schiller and Ted SparrowSomething is seriously rotten in the state of Maine agriculture. We may fly a flag with a farmer on it, but farmland acreage is steadily shrinking, and less than 1 percent of Maine’s people live on farms. Wisconsin cows are causing our cows some serious trouble, and Frito-Lay prefers Idaho variety #X129W to a good old-fashioned Kennebec. (Well, you know what they say – there’s no accounting for taste.)

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Gonsalves family and their strawbale houseBeautiful and sturdy, the Gonsalves’ straw bale house fits snugly, organically, into its cleared niche between forest and brook with a sense of permanence and belonging. If the idea of a house of straw should conjure images of it being blown away with a huff and a puff from the big, bad wolf, seeing this real, lived-in straw bale house would quickly dispel any notion of impermanence or fragility.

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Cynthia and Bill Thayer“Well, it’s pretty exhausting work,” say Bill and Cynthia Thayer after a moment of thought. A few days after I sat down with the Thayers of Darthia Farm in Gouldsboro, I can’t quite remember if they were referring to the vegetable patch, the Haflinger horses, the wood lot, the spinning and weaving, the sheep, the bagpipes, the funk band or the nearly 200 apprentices they have hosted over the last 25 years.

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Steve and Mia MorrisonOn a clear, crisp day in January, hundreds of dairy farmers convened in Augusta to convince legislators that they cannot keep up their current way of life. They are drowning in debt as the price paid for milk hits a 20-year low. The time spent on the capitol steps was time away from their farms, away from their cows; time when their debt load was increasing and their production decreasing.

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Don McLeanDon McLean has been an environmentalist much longer than he has been a veterinarian. In third grade, he did his science project on pollution. “Since then I have been trying to at least reduce the negative impact of modern life on our environment,” he said recently at his solar home-in-progress in Norway, Maine.

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Home of Eric and Laura EvansLaura and Eric Evans seem to have lived a life comprised of one fascinating project after another. The community garden – or, more accurately, community of friends garden – that they started on their land in Camden last year is no exception.

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It’s a Saturday morning in late September. The remnants of a tropical storm have blown through, leaving crisp, new air, blue skies and a sun that can still warm, even in its post summer state. Entering a farmhouse through the back door, which is, after all, the only true way to enter a farmhouse, a wearied traveler is welcomed by the crooning of James Taylor. Apples, picked from the ancient tree outside, are being prepped for pie, and a bottomless cup of coffee steams on the counter. All of this, brought to you by Pat and Mike, or Mike and Pat, depending on who’s talking.

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Mike and Margie ShannonMargie Shannon’s father would approve of the life that his daughter and son-in-law, Mike Shannon, have built on the north side of Frye Mountain, at 1000-feet elevation, in Knox. The solar-, wind- and propane-fueled house, the productive garden, and the water conservation measures would meet his standards, and the fuel-efficient Honda Civic hybrid in the driveway would amaze him.

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Avena board membersDeb Soule started Avena Botanicals in 1985, with a vision that she wanted not only to produce therapeutic medicinal herbs and their products, but that she also wanted to teach other women how to grow and use these herbs. For many years she was doing all of that, with some hired help but primarily on her own.

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Claire AckroydIn a 60-by-60 plot of earth, a bit of magic is being performed, and its effects are slowly rippling through a community. The sorceress is Claire Ackroyd, a landscaper by trade and organic enthusiast by heart. Her co-conspirators are a crew of local master gardeners, two junior high science classes, a steady stream of adult education students, future culinary artists and carpenters, Crew D of the Station Five firehouse, and a fabulous group of community friends and volunteers.

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Gramp's FarmAs a Hancock County businessman/farmer, Tom Taylor has talked with a lot of people who have worked in commercial blueberry plants. "The people who pick out [clean] the berries work in coats because [the berries] are frozen by the time they pick them out. I haven’t heard any good tales from people who worked in a commercial factory. All they can say is that they never want to see a blueberry again in their lives." Working in a blueberry factory doesn’t sound like a job that could ever be called "fun." "It’s really unfortunate," says Tom, "because the way we do business, it’s fun! It’s not overly fatiguing, hardly even breaks the sweat."

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Michael DocterMichael Docter runs a 600-member Community Supported Agriculture farm, The Food Project, in Hadley, Mass., that not only provides abundant and diverse produce to its members but sends a substantial portion of its yields to the Western Mass. Foodbank. Dorter's energetic persona and ability to maximize efficiency everywhere on the farm have been critical to the success of the operation. That efficiency was the subject of his talk at MOFGA's Farmer to Farmer Conference in Bar Harbor last November.

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Steve GilmanThe basis for terms such as "whole farm systems" and "holistic management" is the simple ecological concept that everything is connected with everything else, says organic grower Steve Gilman. "We live with this [concept] everyday. We know what it means. But, because of the nature of what we're up against, sometimes we end up having to focus" on a pest problem, or on getting a crop out. In that focusing, says Gilman, we can end up excluding many things and losing track of that ecological concept.

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Carding Brook FarmPicture a classic Federal country house on a saltwater farm bordering a tidal river, horses working the fields beyond a tree-shaded brook, sheep browsing in the orchard, hens cackling, geese honking, a friendly black Lab greeting arrivals. You’re back in the nineteenth century hobnobbing with contemporaries of Thoreau and Emerson in a bucolic, Currier and Ives calendar original.

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Lee Humphreys’ and Ib Barfod’s Meadowsweet Farm on Finn­town Road in Warren could just as well be called Renaissance Farm, for they have excelled at music and environmental education (Lee); engineering (Ib); community activism, farming and parenting (both). Add woodworking to Lee’s list … and we can even talk about the ghost that inhabits their home.

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Jim GerritsenOne of the most sophisticated operations in Aroostook County takes place in the most unpretentious of settings – the utilitarian potato-packing plant cum residence and its surrounding outbuildings, farming equipment and fields at Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater. Here Jim and Megan Gerritsen have created a unique niche for a viable business in what is often regarded as economically depressed territory.

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Paula Roberts of Meadowsweet FarmRaising animals on fresh green grass is vital to Paula and Sumner Roberts at their Meadowsweet Farm in Swanville. Their philosophy is to “treat all animals with respect and allow them the fullest expression of their natures consistent with good husbandry… [This] includes freedom of movement, exposure to sunlight and fresh air, clean surroundings, a normal social environment, and food suited to their digestive systems. For sheep and cattle this means a grass diet with no animal by-products or added hormones, for chickens a mix of grain and free selection of green grass and bugs.”

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Anne and Eric NordellIn the early 1980s, when land was still “pretty cheap,” Eric and Anne Nordell bought their small farm in Trout Run, Pennsylvania – a place with steep, rugged terrain; a relatively short (for Pennsylvania) growing season; and no large, upscale markets nearby. They decided to grow flowers, vegetables and herbs – crops that would enable them to keep the farm a two-person operation, because they love working together; and to be able to depend on the internal resources of the farm as much as possible.

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Lisa TurnerLike many another organic true believer, Lisa Turner was captivated by the prospect of year-round fresh veggies as promised in Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Gardening. “It’s a fabulous book for families,” she says. “If you want to have your own little greenhouse, follow what he says exactly and it works out wonderfully.”

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Charlotte Young and Jim BaranskiNot many turkeys, organic or otherwise, can enjoy a 360-degree view of scenic Hancock County and beyond, from the Schoodic hills to the east, the Acadia mountains to the south, the Bangor hills to the west and, on a perfect day, perhaps a glimpse all the way to Mt. Katahdin to the north. On a bright, brisk, early November day last year, 25 or more Giant White birds at Shalom Orchard in Franklin ran eagerly to the fence to greet any possibility of food or friendship, as blissfully unaware of their upcoming fate as they undoubtedly were of the superb scenery.

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Eero RuutilaThe magical mesclun salad mix from Nesenkeag Coop Farm is consumed at Boston’s fanciest restaurants. It’s also consumed by the homeless and hungry population of greater Boston and southern New Hampshire.

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A strong drive to produce an abundance of healthful food is the force common to Tom Roberts and Gloria Varney, MOFGA’s “farmers in the spotlight” at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta last January. Roberts and his partner, Lois Labbe, raise organic crops at Snakeroot Organic Farm in Pittsfield, while Varney and her husband, Gregg, raise crops and animals and sell many value-added products at their Nezinscot Farm in Turner.

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Bill EmersonNick Sewall, owner of the Hermit Island Camp Ground at the end of Small Point, has given him the use of almost an acre adjacent to Edgewater Farm in Phippsburg where Bill and his wife, Carol, operate a bed and breakfast. Carol manages the B&B and Bill is bookkeeper, fix-it man and as close to a full-time farmer as he can get. Farther down the road, the Small Point Summer School (a tennis, sailing and theater camp for young people) lets him plant a big field on its property, “as long as a football field and a third as wide.”

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Camden Community GardenHow can a community garden be a secret garden? Just ask any of the folks who raise their favorite vegetables in the Camden Community Garden.

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Ocean Glimpse gardenersWhen one of the highlights of summer is a bunch of grownups sitting on a deck spitting watermelon seeds at each other, something good must be going on. “When they’re ripe, we’ve gotta eat ‘em. They won’t keep, so we have a big watermelon harvest party. It’s great fun,” says Dave Foley – fun and the essence of the community spirit at Ocean Glimpse Farm.

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Jim HannahJim Hannah and Deborah Banks raise happy hens: 3,000 happy hens, in fact, all with room to roam and with feed to satisfy the most gourmand among the flock. Their Hilltop Farm in Dexter is, as far as Hannah knows, the largest certified organic egg operation in Maine.

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Norbet Kungl raises a large variety of organic vegetables in Walton, Nova Scotia, on a small bay across the Bay of Fundy, and markets year-round in Halifax. He is one of the premier farmers in the Northeast, and was featured as “Farmer in the Spotlight” when he spoke before a large group of growers at MOFGA’s Farmer to Farmer Conference last November. The annual event is cosponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

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Anniversary FarmImagine giving and receiving a little piece of Eden as a 25th anniversary present. Adam and Eve never had it so good. But Ellin and Stephen Sheehy did just that when they bought an old farm on the Alna-Whitefield town line six years ago, a place where they have been able to put to practical use years of creative pursuits and to find new ones to explore every day.

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Need proof of the efficacy of compost? Look no further than North Creek Farm, Suzy Verrier’s homestead, retail nursery, garden store and vegetable stand in Sebasco. “Believe me, there were no gardens here when we came. It was mowed right to the foundation,” said Suzy, standing among tables heaped with glorious squashes and tomatoes, potted perennials and roses, when I visited last September.

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“It doesn’t make sense for us to have a big garden when we have Dad’s right across the street,“ says Rebecca Haines, who grew up on her father’s, Austin Moore’s, Uncas Farm in North Whitefield. Instead, she and her husband, Fred, have put their environmental concerns into building a self-sufficient solar-powered home on a sunny hilltop on former family farmland. Rebecca also helps manage the farm store, which keeps her in close touch with the land and its organic produce.

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Nezinscot FarmIt’s one thing for back-to-the-landers to come to Maine to start a new life, as many of MOFGA’s founders did more than 25 years ago. It’s quite another for people with deep roots in Maine agriculture to prove that organic methods can also save grandfather’s farm.

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