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A Maine Farm Tour

A Maine Farm Tour
2 votes, 4.50 avg. rating (86% score)

I just spent a weekend touring some of coastal Maine’s most beautiful farms on a press tour with the Maine Farmland Trust. The purpose of the trip was to not only give a group of writers a taste of Maine’s best food, but to educate them on some of the challenges to building a thriving local food economy, namely the cost of farmland.

Maine is fortunate to have a savvy populace that wants to eat  local food. And they also have a new generation of passionate, innovative young farmers who want to grow that food. But the cost of land near coastal population centers is becoming more and more expensive. So the Farmland Trust, along with other programs like the Department of Agriculture’s Land for Maine’s Future and the American Farmland Trust, among others, are all working in various ways to help farmers secure land at affordable prices. A big piece of this is in buying the development rights to good farmland so that it can be sold for its agricultural value rather than its “highest” use (i.e. for building vacation homes).

It’ s always inspiring to talk to people who are so passionate about their work. MFT’s director, John Piotti, was a terrific guide. And it’s especially inspiring when you’re talking to a farmer in the middle of a fertile field on a beautiful September day. Here are some images I captured along our way.

Pumpkins at New Leaf Farm in Durham

 

New Leaf Farm’s Dave Colson with his butternut squash harvest

Tour host Nancy Harmon Jenkins in New Leaf’s Apple Orchard

Ryan Gosling, er Nate Drummond of Six River Farm in Bowdoinham

Six Rivers Farm is located on a stunning piece of land on Merrymeeting Bay.

Even the compost piles are beautiful here.

At Jordan Farm in Cape Elizabeth, we encountered The Well, a tiny restaurant on wheels where chef Jason Williams cooks directly from the gardens all through the growing season.

Jason designed the kitchen so that he can make everything, from the bread to the smoked sausage, on-site.

The Well’s customers eat at candle-lit tables in the field.In Scarborough, Stacy Brenner and John Bliss showed us around their CSA and fresh flower operation at Broadturn Farm.

Among their many projects, John and Stacy host weddings at the farm, and the flowers are stunning

More Broadturn Farm flowersAs we were touring, we saw one of the farm interns harvesting these hops to make some homemade beer.

 

Barak Olins makes extraordinary bread at Zu Bakery in South Freeport, Maine.

Barak uses Maine-grown wheat, which he grinds himself.

The breads are baked on Friday and sold on Saturday at the Crystal Springs Farmers Market in Brunswick, one of the nicest markets I’ve seen in New England.

 

And lastly, let me share a surprise I found at the Crystal Springs market. Having lived in California, I was familiar with daylight-neutral strawberry varieties that allow farmers there to grow berries almost year-round. However, I had no idea that those same berries were being grown in New England.

Maine strawberries, in September!

 

 

 

Amy Traverso

Author:

Amy Traverso

Biography:

Senior lifestyle editor Amy Traverso oversees Yankee's Food and Home & Garden departments and contributes articles to the magazine. Amy book, The Apple Lover's Cookbook (W.W. Norton), won an International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) cookbook award for the category American. Follow !

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