A Maine Farm Tour
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.
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.