Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Fair News – Winter 2005-2006

Fair News Archive \ Fair News – Winter 05-06

Summing Up 2005

Maine's Common Ground Hosts a World of Participants

Letter from a Fair Enthusiast

Children's Area Thanks You

MOFGA Volunteers are Prize-Winning Judges

Fiddler's Showcase

2005 Awards & Contest Winners

2005 Common Kitchen & Food Donors

Maine’s Common Ground Hosts a World of Participants

The Common Ground Country Fair weather was gorgeous! How many of you noticed the unusual cloud formations on Sunday? Does anyone have a picture of them? The rain stopped about 9 a.m. as the gates opened on Friday, then returned around 7 p.m. on Sunday. Talk about cutting it close! Roughly 50,000 fairgoers enjoyed the Fair this year, with 15 countries and 36 states represented. Amazing!

The 2006 Fair dates are September 22, 23 and 24, so mark your calendars now.

The list of those to thank is HUGE, because the Fair draws so many from Maine and beyond to participate in the Common Ground Community! Participants include businesses and owners, organizations, individuals, farms and families, many of whom plan vacations around the date. I hope all of you enjoyed the planning and efforts of so many.

Some people sacrifice seeing the rest of the Fair to guide and direct the activities of one area. They have a passion and are willing to share that with all of us. That sharing creates the outstanding educational outreach that the Fair achieves, and their ownership creates that feeling of community within the Fair’s boundaries.

Education and community are the niches that we’ve carved in the Agricultural Fairs arena; what a wonderful legacy to continue into the future. THANK-YOU!

– Barbara Luce, Fair Director

Letter from a Fair Enthusiast

Hello Barbara,


Arrived home in Perry about an hour ago and the car is still laden with Common Ground Country Fair/ScytheSupply equipment, but I wanted to say a hearty thank-you from here for all the efforts of everyone at MOFGA in putting together a magical and wonderful event once more. You deserve to be very proud. ScytheSupply once again had a successful Fair, and I am impressed and encouraged how folks come mainly “to learn,” and that’s what it is all about.

For me the Fair includes such a huge range of emotions, events and interests. I even ended up selling my straight snath to an 88-year-old mower/scyther who insisted upon taking a snath home with him because he had mowing to do! We generally do not provide snaths at the Fair but only take orders, but mine fit, and he wanted to buy it. There also was a connection because he recognized my name from having worked with my dad at Colby in the ’50s. Then there was the couple from Quebec City who come to the Fair EVERY year, and many Fairs ago bought a scythe and just wanted to let us know they still mow and are glad someone is making scythes available.

A poignant moment for me was when a white haired gentleman arrived at our booth and with a twinkle in his eye pointed to our blades and announced “Marugg blades are better.” Smiling cheerfully he introduced himself: It was John Bagenstoss who owned the Marugg Co. in Tennessee (the only other scythe business in the United States) for many years and who was very supportive of Elliot ‘s idea to form ScytheSupply five years ago. John and his wife stopped at the Fair to meet us as they headed home to Tennessee after a trip to the Maritimes. He had only met Elliot through emails and phone conversations, and I had no idea he was coming to the Fair. What a delight!

I noted with satisfaction that when I zipped by the Washington County Community College booth, their chili, which included Shore Road Farm onion, celery and garlic, had won a blue ribbon!

A heartwarming moment: As the Fair closed Friday eve, a happy but tired family with four kids ambled by our booth and stopped as the father gathered scythe literature. A watermelon I brought from my patch had just rolled off its perch and cracked, resulting in the need for immediate consumption. Soon we were slicing open the melon, and the kids were eagerly enjoying it as we talked about how the seeds (‘Earli MoonBeam’) had been saved for the last 12 years, and they could take some home. Quickly the kids eagerly scraped (and spit!) the seeds into a paper napkin and an envelope was made so they could take them back to Smyrna for next year’s garden.

My one regret is that now that I am a Fair vendor, there seems to be no time to wander around the Fair as other years. But maybe next year I’ll figure it all out: be a vendor, be a volunteer, get a chance to visit all I want to see and sample all the food I want and eat at least two pumpkin pie cones. Do you think I can do that? Remember I’m first of all a gardener/farmer; therefore always an optimist.
Thank-you very much from way Down East,

Carol P. Bryan, Scythe Supply and Shore Road Farm
496 Shore Rd., Perry, ME 04667
207 853-4750 Maine, USA

Children’s Area Thanks YOU!

Alex and Amy Bradstreet, coordinators of the Children’s Area, would like to thank the following volunteers for their hard work this year:

For overall great support: Beedy Parker, Dahby Tingle and your extraordinary parade crew … thank you, thank you, thank you! For multiple shifts: James and Melissa Glendenning, Andrew and Simon Houghy, Elijah Morrill, Melody and Michelle Russell,  Rhonda and Terran Welcome – thank you all for making our area work smoothly. Set-up (We couldn’t do the Fair without you): Giselle, Hanna and Sophia, The School Around Us — thanks again for great help! The New School in Kennebunk – thank you! Clean-Up (We would still be at the Fair without you): Melissa Lee and Holly Garner-Jackson. And finally, for being on-time, working hard, and being cheerful: Everyone else! We need you next year! See you in 2006!

MOFGA Volunteers are Prize-Winning Judges

Judging the quality of Common Ground Country Fair’s exemplary food offerings is a challenge that takes a full day for those willing to take it on, and this year we had a great crew. Chosen from those who set up in advance of the Fair were: Elliott Scott, Patti Hamilton, Kelly Strawn, Travis Klami and Sarah Baldwin (the author apologizes if any names were misspelled). Between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Friday, October 21, they visited all participating vendors and sampled their wares.

As in the previous year, we met at 4:30 to reach consensus on the results. In those few cases where consensus was not immediately reached, we held a quick Instant Runoff to achieve a result that was approved by all 5 judges. Here are the winners, as announced at the Spotlight Stage that afternoon:

Best Beverage — Sunweaver
That’s Some Different! — Downeast Seoul
Best 100% Maine — White’s Orchard’s Raspberry Milkshake
Tradition! (Best interpretation of a traditional Maine recipe) — Sagadahoc MOFGA’s Switchel
Best Bite for the Buck — Yogi’s Cafe’s Crabroll (2nd consecutive year)
That’s Entertainment — Sunweaver
First Impression (Best new food or drink) — Washington County Community College
Taste, Not Trash — Pie Cones
Where’s the Beef? (Vegetarian) — Peace Flowers
Where’s the Cheese? (Vegan) — Peace Action Maine
Better than Chocolate (Dessert) — Post Farm’s Maple Walnut Ice Cream
Best in Show — Hi Bombay!

Thanks to all vendors who participated. If you’d like to be a food judge at the 2006 fair, volunteer for set-up crew and bring a napkin!

Fiddler's Showcase – 34 participants this year!

The Fiddlers’ Showcase went quite well this year. The two-hour time period was welcomed and allowed us to schedule all fiddlers who arrived. Notable among participants were students from Mount Blue High School in Farmington. Known as the Franklin County Fiddlers, they’re taught by Steve Muise, the strings teacher at Mt. Blue. The students all rode the school bus and spent the day at the Fair, playing for the contra dance in the Folk Arts area in the afternoon.

The showcase handed out 32 coupons for T-shirts to participants. The showcase concept seems to be increasingly popular. All you fiddlers keep a practicing and we’ll hear YOU at the 2006 Fair!

– John McIntire
2005 Fair Poster